The following testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration by the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on March 24, 2023.
March 24, 2023
Conference Room 225
To: Senate Committee on Health and Human Services
Sen. Joy A. San Buenaventura, Chair
Sen. Henry J.C. Aquino, Vice Chair
From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Ted Kefalas, Director of Strategic Campaigns
RE: SCR112/SR118 — REQUESTING THE HAWAII STATE CENTER FOR NURSING TO CONVENE A WORKING GROUP TO STUDY THE FEASIBILITY AND IMPACT OF THE STATE ADOPTING THE NURSE LICENSURE COMPACT
Dear Chair and Committee Members:
The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its comments on SCR112/SR118, which requests that the Hawaii State Center for Nursing convene a working group to study the feasibility and possible consequences of Hawaii adopting the Nurse Licensure Compact.
It is well established that Hawaii is suffering from a shortage of vital healthcare workers, especially nurses. A 2021 report from the Hawaii State Center for Nursing estimated that the state has 300 to 400 fewer nurses than needed to meet demand.
Since 2021, we have seen research indicating that nearly one-fourth of Hawaii’s nurses have been considering leaving the workforce, largely due to the stresses caused by the pandemic.
As we discuss in a new policy brief “How changing Hawaii’s licensing laws could improve healthcare access,” licensing compacts are one reform that might make it easier for Hawaii to attract and retain healthcare professionals.
The report states: “Joining multiple interstate compacts could be the simplest route to address the difficulties medical professionals face in moving to Hawaii. Most importantly, the compact approach has support from within the medical community.”
Currently, 38 states have joined the Nurse Licensure Compact, and the compact commission is able to assist state regulators in the implementation phase.
We hope that the working group will examine the costs and benefits of joining the compact and that the Legislature might consider it again next session.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit our comments.
Director of Strategic Campaigns,
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
 Carrie M. Oliveira, Ph.D., “2021 Hawai’i Nursing Workforce Supply: Statewide Report,” Hawai’i State Center for Nursing, 2021.
 Holly B. Fontenot, Ph.D., et al., “Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Hawai‘i Nursing Workforce: A Cross-sectional Survey,” Hawaii Journal of Health and Social Welfare, May 2022.
 Malia Hill, “How changing Hawaii’s licensing laws could improve healthcare access,” Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, February 2023, p. .