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January 5, 2018

Maine’s public health nursing workforce to double

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is more than doubling its public health nursing workforce in rural areas.

The Portland Press Herald reported DHHS will fill 50 positions to comply with a new state law that requires Maine to have at least 50 public health nurses on staff.

That staff of front-line nurses who respond to infectious disease outbreaks and perform health prevention duties was slashed by more than half under Gov. Paul LePage's administration, from 59 in 2011 to about 25 positions in early 2017.

"Public health nurses have always been a high priority for me," DHHS Commissioner Ricker Hamilton told the newspaper. Seven of the nursing positions have been filled so far, and DHHS received more than 30 applications.

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