January 2022 Update on Health Workforce Progress

A newly released report from the California Health Care Foundation highlights the many state budget and policy actions that have been enacted to date since the Commission issues its final report in February 2019. A summary of the CHCF findings is below. The full January 2022 CHCF report is available here.

Key Findings

  • During a tumultuous period in which the state has had to grapple with the significant health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state has invested over a quarter of the nearly $3 billion recommended by the Commission for its 10 highest priority recommendations. Most of the investments are occurring in the 2021–22 budget year, with funds to be expended over multiple years.
  • California lawmakers expanded scope of practice for nurse practitioners and created several new reimbursable provider types, such as community health workers. California has also invested heavily in the mental health workforce, including creating new types of behavioral health positions for children and youth.
  • California also made substantial investments in physician residencies, with an emphasis on psychiatry. This recommendation constituted approximately half of the estimated Commission costs for needed investments by 2030.
  • The budget also invested in elevating locus of management and oversight for state-supported health workforce programs from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) to a newly established Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI).
  • If similar levels of state investment in the health workforce are made through 2030, the Commission’s priority goals could be met. However, investments to date across the Commission’s 10 priority recommendations have been uneven, and some recent state investments advance other Commission recommendations.
  • In his proposed budget for FY 2022–23, Governor Newsom would build on the investments described in this report with an additional $1.7 billion for health and human services workforce efforts, including many that would advance the Commission’s priority recommendations.
  • Investments and actions to advance the health care workforce taken by the federal government and others are largely beyond the scope of this review. It is worth noting, however, that the American Rescue Plan Act invests $7 billion in expanding the nation’s public health infrastructure.