Strengthening the Reinvestment of a Necessary Workforce in Georgia (GA-STRONG)


Project Summary:

Since September 2021, Sellers Dorsey has been collaborating with various health systems in Georgia, including Emory Healthcare, Phoebe Putney Health System, and Colquitt Regional Medical Center, to address the State’s healthcare workforce shortage, exacerbated by the pandemic, and improve healthcare outcomes and access to care for Georgia’s Medicaid beneficiaries. GA-STRONG is an innovative state-directed payment program (DPP) approved by CMS in December 2022.

Throughout the program’s development and implementation, GA-STRONG has emphasized a collaborative approach to program design.  Together, representatives from the State and a workgroup of participating providers collaborated to design a program intended to address the national healthcare workforce crisis.

Program Focus:

GA-STRONG is built upon the premise that a healthy, engaged population is dependent on an abundant and diverse healthcare workforce. According to federal standards under the Health Resources and Services Administration, 98% of counties in Georgia are Health Professional Shortage Areas, a designation that identifies areas lacking healthcare access. GA-STRONG provides foundational support to the State’s teaching hospitals with funds that will allow the institutions to develop and build on innovative programs specific to their communities.

GA-STRONG supports eligible teaching hospitals’ efforts to:

  • Stabilize and retain the existing workforce.
  • Develop the next generation of healthcare providers.
  • Diversify the healthcare workforce to better represent the communities they serve.

Intended Impacts:

The funding made possible through GA-STRONG is expected to enable eligible teaching hospitals to:

  • Establish partnerships with local technical colleges to expand and develop the next generation of healthcare providers.
  • Fund scholarships and tuition assistance programs to ensure and expand access to medical education.
  • Implement training focused on cultural competencies throughout eligible teaching hospitals to diversify the current and future healthcare workforce.
  • Improve understanding of current workforce demographics through required reporting.
  • Implement programs designed to encourage entry into and advancement through the healthcare workforce by a local, diverse population.

As GA-STRONG matures, and more positive impacts emerge, Sellers Dorsey recognizes the potential to implement similar programs in states across the country to support workforce development.

Ongoing Program Creation:

Sellers Dorsey continues to work closely with Emory Healthcare, Phoebe Putney Health System, Colquitt Regional Medical Center, and various GA teaching hospitals to:

  • Design a transformative, multi-year program.
  • Secure federal approval annually.
  • Ensure funding for eligible teaching hospitals.
  • Work closely with all stakeholders to demonstrate the program’s impact.
  • Facilitate implementation.