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Reader Frank in SD wrote:

The health care issue comes down to whether or not we can overcome heavily vested interests and force the spoiled to concede that health care must become a public service, not a private business. However, with the current atmosphere in San Diego being what it is, I can only see howling profiteers screeching their lungs out over losing the lucrative life-for-payola system. The priveleged know the current afrrangement provides them service as well as it does only because there are not enough people insured to make them wait for care longer.

The health care workforce issue is an important consideration in assuring there is access to care. In San Diego County, there are significant workforce shortages of physicians, nurses, clinical lab scientists, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, radiology technicians, physical therapists and certified assistants.

An adequate number of qualified health care workers, who are focused on quality and dedicated to the health of our community population, is necessary for the health of the current and future population. This community needs to embark on innovative programs to meet the demand for professional and technical workers.  A current example of a program that’s working is San Diego State University’s “Nurses Now,” a partnership with eight of the region’s largest local hospitals to fund faculty positions and increase capacity for admitting students into the nursing program. Enrollment has grown 70 percent since the program was founded in 2000, and 84 percent of all graduates go on to join the local healthcare workforce.

The Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties is also seeking funding for a planning collaborative called “The San Diego Center for Collaborative Health Care Planning” through the San Diego Workforce Partnership.  Our project has been endorsed by the local California Endowment.

— STEVEN ESCOBOZA

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