Senator Tina Smith discusses rural healthcare staffing concerns, secures federal funding

Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 3:59 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - More than $100,000 will help train rural healthcare workers.

U.S. Senator Tina Smith was in Duluth Monday to meet with leaders from Wilderness Health, which is a network of healthcare providers that serves about 450,000 people across the Northland.

Their goal is to improve patient care, reduce costs, and make healthcare more efficient.

However, making sure they have the staff to do so, especially in rural areas, is challenging.

Due to this, Senator Smith helped the group get $100,000 in federal funding.

The funding will pay for a new program giving healthcare providers-in-training, such as ultrasound techs, the practice they need.

“In order to get good at that, you need to be able to do a lot of procedures,” explains Senator Smith. “What happens with this collab is they can come here to St. Lukes and get a lot of practice before they go out to the smaller hospitals in the community.”

Wilderness Health leaders say this money will also help them expose the younger population to places they may not originally consider working.

“Bringing students into rural settings and exposing them to those experiences is really key for recruiting people back to our rural facilities,” says Cassandra Beardsley, Wilderness Health Executive Director.

The Wilderness network includes Grand Marais, Grand Rapids, Ashland, Cloquet and more.

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