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BCW Leading the Charge on Legislation to Address Healthcare Worker Shortage

As the only business organization in Westchester focused on economic development and advocacy, the Business Council of Westchester is leading the charge to address the current shortage of healthcare workers.

In a letter sent to key Albany lawmakers on February 28th, the BCW is urging the inclusion in the state’s FY2023 Budget of two very important bills that will help address the healthcare workforce shortages by targeting obstacles in training.

The BCW is advocating for $3 million to fund the Clinical Preceptor Tax Credit Act (S.4229/A.285). This legislation would establish a personal income tax credit for community-based healthcare professionals such as nurses and physician assistants, among others, who serve as preceptors, providing NYS-required clinical training for students studying to enter various health care professions.

Secondly, the BCW is advocating for the budget-neutral inclusion of the Clinical Training Through Simulation bill (S.6717/A.7767). This legislation would increase the number of hours (up to a third) of clinical simulation-based learned experiences allowable to fulfill requisite clinical education hours.

“Both bills will do much to address the substantial shortage of healthcare workers in Westchester County and the state by addressing the availability of hands-on clinical experiences which is one of the most limiting factors for college and universities. Providing an incentive to preceptors to participate in clinical training programs and allowing a greater amount of training to be conducted through simulation experiences will facilitate increasing the numbers of health professional students who can be trained,” read the letter from BCW Executive Vice President and COO John Ravitz.

The BCW is no newcomer to this important issue. The BCW has been lobbying for the preceptor legislation since 2017 when it started the Legislative Enhanced Advocacy Program (LEAP). Pace University, one of the program’s founding members, joined the program seeking assistance in proposing legislation as a means to address the shortage of preceptors they were experiencing.

The bill was drafted and introduced in 2017, and the BCW has been lobbying for it ever since being under the leadership of Andra Horsch, Vice President of State Government Affairs for the BCW, who, along with representatives from Pace University, has been meeting with the Assembly, Senate and Governor’s office since the early fall to push for the legislation. The BCW has additionally grown a coalition to include other colleges, universities and stakeholder groups from across the state who have also been participating in the meetings.

“We’re hoping to get it done in the budget this year since the state now has money to spend and the fact that there is an even greater need for it given that the pandemic has exacerbated the pre-existing healthcare worker shortages,” said Horsch.

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