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Task Force
On Health
Care Workforce


Public Input Welcomed

Aug. 20, 2002
July 16, 2002
May 30, 2002
April 12, 2002

Competing for
Quality Care -
Findings and Proposals
for Montana's Health
Care Worforce
- Final Report

(Adobe Acrobat format - 650KB)

Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force On Health Care Workforce Shortage

Wilderness Room, Colonial Building
Tuesday, August 20, 2002


To accurately assess the shortage of health care workers, and to develop recommendations and strategies to effectively address the issue.


Loren Soft, Chairperson, Billings
Jim Ahrens, Montana Hospitals Association
Sami Butler, Montana Nurses Association
Rose Hughes, Montana Health Care Association
Joyce Scott, Academic and Student Affairs
Sharon Kott, Area Health Education Center
Wendy Keating, Montana Department of Labor
Brian Zins, Montana Medical Association
Mary McCue, Montana Dental Association
Steve Yeakel, Helena, Montana
Representative Edith Clark, House District, 88
Joe McDonald, Salish Kootenai College
Jim McGarvey, Montana State AFL-CIO, MEA-MFT
Mike Hanshew, Montana DPHHS
Bob Bartholomew, Montana AARP
Jani McCall, Consulting with Communities
Desiree Taggart, Office of Economic Development
Jody Messinger, Office of Public Instruction
Patty Ehrhardt, Montana Clinical Laboratory Managers Association
Rita Harding, Billings Area Indian Health Service


Linda Ashworth, Secretary


Chairman, Loren Soft, in the Wilderness Room of the Colonial Building, called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.


Attendees: Chairman Loren Soft, Jody Messinger, Sami Butler, Gail Gray, Sharon Kott, Rose Hughes, Jani McCall, Patti Ehrhardt, Jim Ahrens, Joyce Scott, Rita Harding, Mary McCue, Wendy Keating, Jim Ahrens


Audrey Conner Rosberg, Montana State University-Billings, College of Technology/Director of Practical Nursing
Pat Murdo, Legislative Services


It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of the previous meeting, as corrected.


Chairman Soft commended Laurie Ekanger for all the work she had done on compiling the task force's labors into a workable report to present to the Governor.


Loren Soft reported on his attendance at the National Academy for State Health Policy Meeting. All fifty states were represented and Loren was able to present the information from the task force regarding Montana's current efforts to deal with the healthcare work force shortages within the state of Montana. He reported that the issues reported from Montana were consistent with problems and issues reported throughout the country. The problem of manager and supervisor training appeared at the top of each state's list. Loren gave a brief summary on the efforts of other states to address the healthcare workforce shortage.


Loren reported that a group consisting of himself, Jean Branscum, Sharon Kott, and Jim Ahrens had met and had done some fine-tuning to the report. The changes were underlined in the August 16th draft of the report.

The committee perused the report making editorial changes and clarifying some of the language.

The committee felt it was important to recommend an increase in state funding, which would lead to credibility and tie into economic development within the state of Montana. The executive summary will list the healthcare work force shortage as a financial priority while recognizing that the state is in financial strains.

Gail Gray felt the letter of transmittal should include the suggestion that the department pursue other sources of funding. Wendy Keating agreed, stating that the report should give the government other sources of funding to pursue rather than making this just a government issue.

A brief discussion was held concerning Proposal #10 regarding retort reform. Brian Zins had been asked to prepare language for this area. At the time of the meeting nothing had been received from Mr. Zins. Representative Clark stated that the information could be obtained from the National Council of Legislatures. Rose Hughes reminded the committee that other states drive Montana rates in liability insurance. Since this issue concerned a small impact area, it was agreed to omit proposal #10 from the document.

Rose Hughes moved to support the recommended action on the top of page 42, which states the Governor shall direct the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a formal mechanism to process J-1 visa waivers. The motion carried with Rita Harding and Sami Butler voting no.

Sharon moved that the last recommendation on page 24 involving public health be omitted. The motion passed with Rita Harding voting no.


The final report of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force On Health Care Workforce Shortage will be presented to the Governor on Thursday, September 26th at 11:00 a.m. Loren will ask committee members to join him in the presentation to Governor Martz. The report will be presented in the Governor's Reception Room in the Office of the Governor.

Loren referred to the writing of a letter to the Montana Congressional Delegation and asked that ideas be sent to him and he would draft a letter.

Jean will be consulted regarding the cost of printing and distribution of the document.


Audrey Connor Rosberg thanked the committee for its efforts. She also cautioned the committee to be aware that using foreign medical personnel will leave understaffed countries in critical shape within their own medical communities.

Loren again expressed his gratitude to the committee members' hard work and to Laurie Ekanger for all of her work on the written report.

Jim Ahrens thanked Loren for his work as chairman on the committee.


There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 12:00 noon. navigation footer
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