Lopez Calls For Legislative Action On Nursing Shortage

Joins colleagues in pushing for common sense proposals to nursing crisis
May 20, 2008
Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R,C,I-Schoharie) joined his colleagues this week in announcing proposals which would address the current nursing shortage crisis.

“Having worked closely with many health care organizations during my time as an Assemblyman, I recognize the serious problems the current nursing shortage can cause,” said Assemblyman Lopez. “In particular, I am concerned about the lack of health care options in rural communities, which make up a large portion of the 127th Assembly District, and the low number of qualified health care professionals who choose to work in rural areas. We must do a better job of recruiting and retaining these individuals so that no one who needs urgent health care is denied care.”

The proposed legislation would:

  • Establish the New York State nursing recruitment incentive and retention program and provide for the reimbursement of student loans if a person is a registered and licensed nurse;
  • Provide financial support to applicants to enter or continue in registered nurse educational programs and who agree to deliver nursing care in a specialty setting or designated region of New York having a shortage of nurses;
  • Establish the “Regents Nursing Professionals Loan Forgiveness Program” for applicants who agree to serve as nurses in hospitals, nursing homes and hospice centers;
  • Create a baccalaureate and associate nursing assistance program within the Department of Health to provide loans to persons pursuing a nursing degree at a college or university in the state; and
  • Provide for the preservation of a claimant’s eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits while the claimant is studying to become a certified teacher or a registered professional nurse.

“These bills represent a common sense approach to a serious problem,” continued Assemblyman Lopez. “Statewide attention is needed to ensure the survival of the health care industry in Upstate New York, as well as to meet the needs of individuals and families across the state.”