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Oklahoma State Senate
Senator Susan Paddack
Senate District 13
Democratic Whip
Coal, Garvin , Hughes & Pontotoc Counties

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For Immediate Release: February 15, 2008

Sen. Susan Paddack
Sen. Susan Paddack

Paddack Bill Establishes Education Funding Source for
Future Healthcare Professionals in Oklahoma

A bill that would establish the Oklahoma Health Care Workers and Educators Assistance program passed out of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education this week.

Senator Susan Paddack (D-Ada), author of Senate Bill 1687, said the proposed law is designed to encourage Oklahomans to enter the nursing and healthcare profession and help those prospective students through financial assistance. Paddack said the bill would give more Oklahomans an opportunity to follow a career path in the healthcare industry as well as represent a smart investment for the future.

“With our current population, a population that is both growing and aging, we need more Oklahomans to pursue these kinds of career options so that we can fill the projected shortage of qualified and trained healthcare providers,” Paddack said. “Establishing a permanent assistance source is good for the health of our state and it will be good for our citizens as well as the economy.”

Paddack said the assistance opportunities are limited to state residents and will be administered by the Health Care Workforce Resources Board. The bill includes language that would allow a cluster of over 100 healthcare professions, including cardiovascular technologists and technicians, dental hygienists, diagnostic medical sonographers, opticians, and radiologic technologists and technicians to qualify for financial assistance to be used for their educational expenses based on the areas where the greatest shortages exist.

Paddack said the bill also proposes matching grants for nursing and healthcare education institutions to increase the number of clinical opportunities for students and better utilize online and distance learning.

Paddack said another critical component of SB 1687 is that it creates a pipeline of qualified instructors by providing scholarships to nursing and allied health professionals wishing to seek the degrees needed to become faculty.

“Protecting the health of our citizens and making sure critical healthcare providers are in place is responsible government for the future of Oklahoma, Paddack said. “This is an opportunity to help Oklahoma students secure the training and education that will enable them to provide vital healthcare services to the state’s citizens.”

For more information contact:
Senator Paddack's Office: (405) 521-5541

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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