We had a shortage of much-needed healthcare workers in Montana even before the pandemic. Throw COVID-19 into the mix, and of course things are even worse. What would only add more fuel to the fire? Forcing our great healthcare workers to have to get the COVID vaccine.

Thankfully, here in Montana we have a vaccine freedom law that was put on the books when Governor Greg Gianforte (R-MT) signed House Bill 702 into law. I've spoken with insiders at hospitals here in Montana who have told me two things. One, the vaccine freedom law is greatly helping with recruitment efforts for nurses and doctors who now want to come here from other states where vaccines and other things are being forced on them. Two, the vaccine freedom law is also helping our hospitals and health clinics to be able to retain more existing personnel, who may leave the industry if forced to take the vaccine.

Montana's governor is also looking at some additional ways to help fill the workforce shortages here in Montana- leveraging federal COVID-19 dollars to pay the moving expenses for any healthcare workers that come to the state.

Gov. Gianforte: For too long, Montana has struggled to attract and retain health care providers, and the pandemic has only exacerbated this longstanding issue. With this innovative new program, we’re inviting qualified doctors, nurses, and other health care providers to move to Montana, serve in our communities, alleviate some of the burden on existing workers, and help us build capacity so Montanans have greater access to care.

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LOOK: What major laws were passed the year you were born?

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