Hello, I am Diane Sosne, a Registered Nurse and President of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW representing 22,000 nurses and healthcare workers in Washington state, including here at Swedish Medical Center.
We are so pleased to see Washington state get off to a great start implementing the new healthcare reform legislation. Thank you, Governor, for moving quickly and taking the next steps to ensure that we provide healthcare for the uninsured and have the resources we need to focus on prevention and best practices for treatment of chronic conditions and illnesses. We support your investment of resources to protect the Basic Health plan and create a healthcare cabinet that will help improve health status and lower costs of care.
As part of the backbone of the healthcare industry, more nurses and healthcare workers will be needed to meet the growing demand for services to a diverse patient population as we add coverage for 800,000 uninsured people in our state.
We know that one of the best ways to increase the numbers of nurses and healthcare workers is to ‘grow our own’, and under Governor Gregoire’s leadership, Washington state is already a step ahead in workforce investments and the training of healthcare workers.
Our union, is partnering with hospitals and clinics including Swedish, and the state to provide innovative training programs with public and private funds. Current workers in our facilities are familiar with our healthcare system and the demands of the job. With just a few classes to build on their current knowledge, they are well on their way to becoming phlebotomists, certified nursing assistants, medical assistants, technicians and nurses.
These programs benefit our patients, our hospitals, and healthcare workers. Workers statewide are addressing critical shortages and now have increased economic opportunity for their families. The expansion of healthcare also creates new jobs for the unemployed. This kind of education is a life changer, and good for our economy. We’re putting Washingtonians to work by keeping Washingtonians healthy.
We’re proud to be part of Washington state’s collaborative effort to ensure quality, affordable healthcare for all, and we thank the Governor for her leadership. Today is a great step forward for healthcare in our state. Thank you.