Friday, December 2, 2016
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin announced today that the National Governors Association (NGA) has chosen Oklahoma as one of two states to receive technical assistance regarding using existing Medicaid funds to meet state workforce requirements in underserved areas of the state.
“I am thrilled that the NGA has chosen to help Oklahoma meet its health care workforce needs. One of my top priorities as Governor has been addressing the workforce crisis in Oklahoma, through my initiative, Oklahoma Works. This support from the NGA dovetails perfectly with the goals of my Administration to ensure all Oklahomans have the skills and education necessary to have rewarding careers and achieve the American Dream,” noted Governor Fallin.
The technical assistance program, “Connecting Medicaid to Health Workforce” will provide expert consultation to assist Oklahoma agency leaders in developing a plan to use Medicaid funds to address state health workforce needs, particularly in rural and medically underserved areas.
Oklahoma faces the significant challenges of an aging physician workforce and an alarming shortage of primary care providers for those in the greatest need.
This opportunity builds on prior collaborative health workforce efforts that resulted in the development of the Governor’s Health Workforce Action Plan and the establishment of the Health Workforce Subcommittee of the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development.
A core team of state leaders from OHCA, OSDH, Physician Manpower Training Commission, State Office of Rural Health, and the Choctaw National Health Services Authority will work with a broad range of stakeholders to develop recommendations to modernize and improve the effectiveness of state Medicaid funding for Graduate Medical Education (GME).
One of the primary goals of the project will be to develop strategies that ensure transparency and accountability for state GME funding, while aligning Medicaid GME with state-specific health workforce needs. The team will specifically address the need for increasing both training of primary care physicians and support for community-based, inter-professional education; this includes Teaching Health Center programs in federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics, and Tribally operated health systems.
According to the NGA, “Evidence suggests providers who train in clinics in rural and other underserved areas are more likely to practice there after their training is complete. … The technical assistance will provide both states an opportunity to engage in the creation of a plan with specific goals and action steps and accompanied by on-the-ground support, which will include discussions with experts and stakeholder engagement.”
Governor Fallin has appointed core team members, with the project team to be led by Adrienne Rollins, Director of the OSDH Center Health Innovation and Effectiveness.
Other core team members include:
Katie Altshuler, Policy Director, Office of the Governor
Jana Castleberry, Manager of Health Workforce Development, Office of Primary Care Oklahoma State Department of Health
Julie Cox-Kain, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services
Carrie Evans, Chief Financial Officer Oklahoma Health Care Authority
Richard Evans, Executive Director, Oklahoma Physician Manpower Training Commission
Todd Hallmark, Executive Director of Health Operations Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority
Corie Kaiser, Director, Oklahoma State Office of Rural Health
Garth Splinter, MD, Deputy CEO, Oklahoma Health Care Authority
The project will begin in December 2016 and will end in May 2017.