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Reform holds hidden gems for providers

Editor’s note: This article was written by guest blogger Anthony Cirillo, FACHE, ABC, a healthcare marketing and experience management expert and elder advocate. For more information about the author, please see our About page.

The Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) has been issuing bulletins that do a good job of explaining pieces of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. Several of the legislation’s provisions directly impact eldercare, disability employers, and direct-care staff.

The law establishes a category of grants for new training of direct-care workers employed in long-term care settings, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, homecare settings, and any other setting determined to be appropriate. Funding for these training grants, available for fiscal years (FY) 2011-2013, must be given to accredited institutions of higher education that have an established public-private educational partnership with a long-term care provider. The funds are to be used to offset the cost of tuition and other required fees for trainees. Once training is completed, the trainee must work in the field of geriatrics, disability services, long-term care, or chronic care management for at least two years.

Implication: partner with an educational provider helping them to secure funding, which in turn can supply you with a pipeline of future workers.

The new law also contains Elder Justice Act provisions, which call for grants to be awarded to long-term care facilities or community-based long-term care agencies to implement programs that offer employees improved training, career ladders, and wage/benefits increases over the course of FY 2011–2014. There will also be grants to improve management practices that affect retention and may be used by providers to address human resource policies and workplace culture issues.

Implication: stay on top of these initiatives. As of now, funding has only been authorized. Contact your members of Congress on the Appropriations Committee to urge passage of funding.