Y’all Politics brings you a Bill of the Day from the Mississippi Legislature that just may pique your interest.

Many hospitals and health care facilities across Mississippi are struggling to retain and attract workers. The COVID pandemic has no doubt played a significant role in exacerbating an already tenuous environment in many areas in the state.

The state has received a significant amount of federal funding that has largely been earmarked to help in this area, and lawmakers have been considering how best to put those millions of dollars to work for months.

Speaker Philip Gunn has developed a plan he has titled the “Mississippi Health Care Workers Retention Act of 2022” (HB 764) aimed at addressing this issue.

The bill outlines moving $56 million from any money in the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund not otherwise appropriated to the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) for distribution to licensed health care workers in the state who are primarily devoted to mitigating or responding to the current COVID-19 public health emergency. It is broken down as follows:

  • $40 million to Mississippi licensed hospitals.
  • $7.5 million to Mississippi licensed long-term care facilities.
  • $2.5 million to Mississippi licensed ambulance services.
  • $5 million to other Mississippi eligible entities.
  • $1 million to MSDH for defraying the expenses of the department in administering the funds.

The bill states that amount per health care worker is not to exceed $5,000.00 within 60 days after the effective date of this act’s passage.

A recipient of the pay must not earn more than $150,000 per year and must execute a written agreement developed by MSDH to continue employment with his or her primary current employer for five (5) months following the receipt of the pay. If the terms of the agreement are not met, the bill says recipients “may be required” to repay the funds.

Workers employed under a contract with a staffing agency to provide services for a limited duration of less than one (1) year in the State of Mississippi, such as travel nurses, as determined by the department are not eligible for the funds.

You can read the full version of the bill here.