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Indiana Hospital Association pushes for passage of HB 1460 to help alleviate staffing challenges in hospitals

Posted at 7:22 PM, Mar 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-03 19:22:45-05

Ind. — Lawmakers are halfway through the legislative session, and the Indiana Hospital Association is calling on them to step up and provide relief for hospitals that are dealing with staffing challenges.

House Bill 1460 is one bill making its way through the statehouse that would help.

"We need that assistance and help from our lawmakers to be able to give us the resources to do that," said IU Health West Nursing Director Rachel Culpepper.

Culpepper sees firsthand the daily struggle with staffing following the stress and strain of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We are experiencing heavy work loads on the nursing units on a daily basis. We are huddling with managers to better understand the challenges, how we can staff for the next shift the next day," said Culpepper.

Healthcare workers are doing the best the can, but sometimes there just isn't enough staff to keep up.

Culpepper says at times, hospitals are limiting the number of patients they can accept.

When that happens, patients can be transferred to other hospitals.

"There has been times we had to make that tough decision and it really is a tough decision. Sometimes when census decreases, it's not tough because the demand isn't as high. When we have people in the ER, we do our very best to keep every bed open," said Culpepper.

The Indiana Hospital Association is pushing for lawmakers to pass House Bill 1460.

"This session, one of our major priorities is workforce. Our healthcare workforce has been depleted, and as we rebuild, we really need help from the General Assembly to help speed up the process of getting our doctors or nurses or other professionals licensed quickly," said IHA President Brian Tabor.

The bill would change the way licenses for health care professionals are issued.

A temporary permit could be given to registered and licensed practical nurse applicants, which would allow them to get to work right away.

It's a tool that was used during the pandemic.

House Bill 1460 passed the House unanimously and has its first reading in the Senate on March 6.

IHA says hospitals are under tremendous financial strain as well.

They're also fighting to raise rates when it comes to Medicaid payments.

RELATED: Indiana hospitals suffer toughest financial year since pre-pandemic