KCUR News
1:16 pm
Fri May 29, 2009

Nixon Touts Program To Expand Health Care Education

Kansas City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon stopped at UMKC's nursing school yesterday, to highlight a recently approved initiative aimed at expanding the state's health care workforce. KCUR's Elana Gordon reports.

Nixon says his plan, called Caring for Missourians, will provide a total of 40 million additional dollars to the state's two- and four-year public universities next year. The plan calls on schools to increase the number of students entering health care professions, though universities aren't technically required to use the extra money for that purpose.

Lora Lacey-Haun is the Dean of UMKC's School of Nursing. She says the added support is essential, given the area's current nursing shortage.

LACEY-HAUN: "There were almost 750 unfilled nursing positions right here in the Kansas City community. And, that's a lot of vacant spots, people not getting the kind of health care that they deserve."

Lacey-Haun says despite this situation, the school had to turn away more than half of its qualified nursing applicants for next semester, due to a lack of space. She says the new funds will help increase enrollment by ten percent.

Overall, UMKC is slated to receive 12 million dollars for its medical, dental, pharmacy, and nursing programs. Metropolitan Community College will also get about a million dollars.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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