In October 2001, Montana Governor Judy Martz appointed a Blue Ribbon Task Force
on Health Care Workforce Shortage:
To accurately assess the shortage of health care workers in Montana, and to
develop recommendations and strategies to effectively address the issue.
Governor Martz was responding to the many health care and human services
providers, workers and consumers who have shared with her serious concerns about the
future of health care quality for MontanaÂ’s citizens in light of an acute shortage of health
care workers. The Governor appointed Task Force members representing health
care/human services providers and professionals, Indian Health Service, education,
consumers, the Legislature, and state government. The Task Force recognized in its
deliberations the wide diversity in geography, citizens, cultures, health resources,
educational facilities, and local and tribal governments in Montana. Members
contributed immeasurable experience and expertise in assessing the health care and
related human services workforce in Montana. The Task Force is sincerely grateful to the
many organizations and individuals who contributed information, personal experiences,
comments and testimony to the Task Force. This Report describes the findings and
recommendations of the Task Force and is organized into a discussion of the Problem, a
series of Proposals with action steps, an appendix of Workforce Data, and a
The Task Force concluded early on that this work is critical and timely for several
• Health care represents MontanaÂ’s largest overall service sector economy
Gross State Product.
• Even though MontanaÂ’s health care wages lag those in other states, health
care wages in Montana average 21% higher than the overall Montana wage
• Montana is experiencing an unacceptable shortage of qualified health care
• Significant barriers exist to alleviating this shortage.
• This shortage will increase without policy leadership and action.