Advocacy Group Urges Direct Care Workforce Changes before LTC Panel

The government affairs director of the Paraprofessional Health Institute testified before the Commission on Long-Term Care on Wednesday requesting special attention to several issues impacting the direct care workforce, including training and payment.  

Carol Regan, PHI’s government affairs director, submitted written testimony for a public hearing led by Commission Chairman Bruce Chernof and the other 14 members of the bipartisan panel, which has been charged with advising Congress on ways to improve the nation’s long-term care system. 

In her testimony, Regan urged the Commission to consider four key workforce domains: payment and procurement; training; new models of coordinated care; and infrastructure to support independent living.

PHI also listed several recommendations for the Commission to bring to Congress in regards to workforce monitoring, infrastructure to support community-based living; reimbursement; training; and the appointment of a home care workforce advisory panel. 

Proposals include implementing increased minimum training standards for home health aides and certified nursing assistants, and taking action to implement minimum federal training standards for personal care aides based on the results of the Personal and Home Care Aide State Training demonstration projects, which will conclude in September 2013. 

As the nation’s population ages, more and more people will need caregivers, Regan notes, increasing the importance of investing in the direct-care workforce. 

“The direct-care workforce offers tremendous value as an underutilized asset of our healthcare infrastructure –one that can be leveraged toward the goals of improving access, promoting quality, increasing efficiency, and controlling costs,” she said. “It is an historic workforce, both in terms of overall size and pace of growth,that has only begun to receive the policy and practice attention that will allow it to realize its potential value for the healthcare system, for communities, for individual consumers, and for workers.”

Read Regan’s full testimony here.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

Alyssa Gerace

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