Sen. Rusty Crowe presents legislation creating center to address nursing needs

Published 11:55 am Friday, February 25, 2022

Senator Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) presented legislation proposed by Governor Lee this week that would create the Tennessee Center for Nursing Advancement to address issues of nursing workforce needs. The center would be located within East Tennessee State University in conjunction with Ballad Health.
Senate Bill 2401 allows the center to collect and aggregate data on nursing turnover, reasons for nursing turnover, and successful recruitment practices. The data would be published in reports while maintaining confidentiality, and could lead to future public policy considerations. There is currently no common database for nursing shortages.
ETSU/Ballad have already pledged $10 million for the startup of the center, and Gov. Lee’s proposed budget includes $1 million a year for management of the center.
Sen. Crowe, who pushed Governor Lee’s bill through the Senate Education Committee this week, issued the following statement about the proposed legislation: “The national shortage of nursing is a major public health threat. The leadership of Ballad Health has been on the front lines trying to develop solutions, up to and including their recent announcement of the investment of tens of millions of dollars in expanded childcare for our region. Last summer, Ballad Health and ETSU partnered to create the Center for Nursing Advancement at ETSU for the purpose of better understanding the severity of the shortage and to develop solutions for our region.
“The center will require a plan that addresses issues of nursing workforce needs, creates a database on nursing workforce needs, and will implement a statewide plan for moving forward that will be submitted to Gov. Lee and each speaker this coming year.
“I applaud Gov. Lee, CEO and President of Ballad Health Alan Levine, and ETSU President Brian Noland, who saw the potential for this Center to help our entire state develop effective solutions. Gov. Lee proposed adding to Ballad Health’s $10 million commitment, providing matching state funds, and codifying the Center for Nursing Advancement at ETSU to become the Tennessee Center for Nursing Advancement.
“I am so proud that our region is leading the effort to develop data-driven solutions for the nursing shortage so we can take care of the people in our state. The problem is complicated, and it requires appropriate resources, planning and execution if we are going to solve it. This is the right first step. I appreciate Hannah Torbett from Johnson City who works with Gov. Lee for helping to shepherd this bill through the legislative process. I believe the Tennessee Center for Nursing Advancement at ETSU will become a national resource.”

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