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Hawai'i Funds New CNA-to-LPN Program

Analysis  |  By Carol Davis  
   June 15, 2023

Newly approved legislation helps to address the 'dire shortage of healthcare workers in our state,' governor says.

Working certified nurse aides (CNAs) in Hawai'i who want to make the leap to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) are getting a boost with legislation that Gov. Josh Green, MD, signed into legislation.

In addressing that statewide shortage of healthcare workers, Green signed legislation that appropriates $130,000 for instructional costs for the Certified Nurse Aide-to-Practical Nurse Bridge Program at University of Hawaiʻi Maui College, and $200,000 to provide student aid to participants in the CNA-to-LPN Program at the school.

The appropriation includes funds for tuition, fees, supplies, and related costs, according to a press release from the governor's office.

The program is designed particularly for working CNAs and other healthcare professionals who want to become LPNs, to enhance the quality and provision of healthcare services on Maui.

"This funding contributes to a robust education system in providing health workforce education and training, to enhance the quality of healthcare in our community and address the dire shortage of healthcare workers in our state," Green said.

The program partners with Hale Makua, ʻOhana Pacific Health, and Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi and provides eligible Maui and Oʻahu healthcare professionals with the opportunity to become LPNs while they are working.

"This is a proud day for UH Maui, as we will be able to contribute greatly to helping our state's healthcare system staff up, while at the same time, affording certified nurse aides an opportunity to advance their careers through the bridge program," said Lui Hokoana, chancellor of UH Maui College.

Green also signed additional legislation authorizing up to $20 million in bonds to build a new hospital—West Maui Hospital and Medical Center—in the county of Maui, including any necessary infrastructure.

"These two bills came out of the community and were actually driven by the community," said state Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran. "[The CNA-to-LPN bill] was probably one of the easiest bills to move through the legislature this year … because the expansion will also provide more healthcare positions on Kaua'i and O'ahu. This is helpful for healthcare throughout the state."

Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.


The appropriation provides $130,000 for instructional costs and $200,000 to provide student aid.

The program is designed for working CNAs and who want to become LPNs.

The appropriation includes funds for tuition, fees, supplies, and related costs.

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