Ballad Health CEO to testify in Congress on critical workforce issues

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Alan Levine, chair and CEO of Johnson City, Tenn.-based Ballad Health, is slated to testify Oct. 26 before the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Mr. Levine will speak during a hearing titled "Caring for America: Legislation to Support Patients, Caregivers and Providers," according to a Ballad news release.

Health system representatives said his comments will address resiliency of the healthcare workforce, the critical nature of the nursing shortage in the U.S., the effects workforce issues have on rural and non-urban communities, and Ballad's value-based care efforts.

Mr. Levine's written testimony, in part, reads, "Few issues are as important as the challenges facing the healthcare workforce, many of which were present prior to the pandemic and are now only exacerbated and accelerated. Most critical is the shortage of bedside nursing and allied health workers, due to burnout, retirements and lack of capacity in our training environments. The reality is that if the gaps in healthcare employment are not quickly addressed, rural communities and other areas with higher growth in elderly and other vulnerable populations will face a serious inability to meet the needs of those increasingly relying upon the health delivery system."

Mr. Levine's written testimony also includes some pre-pandemic data points related to nursing, as well as the cost implications nursing burnout has had for Ballad. Additionally, his written testimony points to Ballad's support for the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, which is among the legislation being considered during the Oct. 26 subcommittee hearing and aims to improve healthcare providers' mental health and reduce burnout.

Ballad serves 29 counties in Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky. Read Mr. Levine's full written testimony here

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