News, Skilled Nursing Facility

Bill introduced to remedy LTC staffing shortages, increase workforce training

This week Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Congresswoman Doris Matsui, co-chairs of the Senior Task Force, introduced a bill to the House that aims to increase investment in geriatric training and caregiver programs for the nation’s long-term care workforce as a way to remedy the worker shortage.

Schakowsky and Matsui released a joint statement addressing the “serious shortage in the health care workforce.” It’s been estimated that by 2030, 3.5 million trained health care workers will be needed to provide care to an increasing number of seniors.

The bill intends to meet this challenge by bolstering the LTC workforce through training that increases engagement in underserved and rural communities, formally establishing funding for the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program, and by re-establishing the Geriatric Academic Careers Awards, “a program that develops clinician-educators,” says Robyn Stone, DrPH, Senior VP for Research at LeadingAge.

The awards program would provide grant opportunities to junior caregivers to pursue an academic career in geriatrics.

“Lack of quality faculty has been a major barrier to the development of a competent pipeline of clinicians and managers to help support the direct care workforce and to ensure high quality service delivery in residential and home care settings,” says Stone. She believes this bipartisan bill is likely to move in Congress as part of the larger Title VII bill.