Pine Tech Awarded Two Health Care Grants

Thursday, February 19th, 2009 at 10:00 am

Pine Technical College and a consortium of eight health care providers in East Central Minnesota and Western Wisconsin created a regional Healthcare Alliance, in 2007, to address the growing needs of the health care workforce.  The alliance began seeking out grant opportunities and was recently awarded a $12,000 grant from HealthForce Minnesota.  Just as work began on the proposed project, a second grant of $22,500 has been awarded to expand the work of the initial grant.

The regional partners in this health care project include Cambridge Medical Center, Lakeside Medical Center,  GracePointe Crossing, Kanabec Hospital, Burnett Medical Center, Fairview Lakes Medical Center, Fairview Northland Medical Center and Pine Medical Center.  These facilities cover a five county region in East Central Minnesota as well as Burnett County in Western Wisconsin.

The Healthcare Alliance partners, utilizing a survey developed at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, assessed local hiring needs and workforce shortages in the Spring and Summer of 2008.  The survey revealed significant gaps within the workforce across the region, the level of the hiring gap and the disciplines where the shortages are most acute.  The results of that survey became the basis for the mission of the HealthCare Alliance: “To use the power of collaborative action to improve the quality and quantity of health care workers in the region.”

According to Project Director and PTC President, Robert Musgrove, the purpose of this project is “to stimulate the development of a regional alliance of health care organizations, higher education institutions, K-12 systems and other partners in the region to fulfill the mission of the Healthcare Alliance.”

In planning for the development of the health care project, the alliance formulated five objectives in meeting the goal to improve the quality and quantity of health care workers in the region.  These objectives include: to staff the project with a coordinator and support staff, to develop a workforce plan that will identify the health care resources required for the region, to create education opportunities within the communities that will provide support to the health care industry, to develop a pipeline of people to fill the long-term health care needs, and to optimize the ability of health care providers and education providers to work cooperatively to educate and train the students in this field.

Anne Klein, Chief Human Resource Officer at Fairview Lakes Medical Center, will serve as the project coordinator.  “As we move ahead with the planning of this project, there will be several key steps aimed at known issues in the region.  These include awareness-raising and career counseling opportunities with the local public schools in the region, as well as capacity-building efforts with Pine Technical College and the Cambridge Campus of Anoka-Ramsey Community College – the two colleges that currently serve this region, “ says Klein. “But one of the primary goals will include a clinical coordination project to establish a regionalized system of determining possible clinical site opportunities.”

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