Home-Based Care Stakeholders See Public-Private Partnerships As Way To Address Workforce Shortage

Following the U.S. Senate’s request for information (RFI) regarding solutions to the national health care workforce crisis, the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare (PQHH) submitted a comment letter on Saturday.

The letter detailed the challenges the home-based care sector has been facing, and also included possible solutions. Among the potential solutions is recent state legislation that PQHH and others believe could work on a national level.

The Senate — specifically U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Bernie Sanders — originally released an RFI on March 2.


Ultimately, the Senate is hoping to come up with bipartisan solutions to include in future legislation based on the information and ideas it receives from providers and stakeholders.

PQHH CEO Joanne Cunningham is encouraged by the Senate’s efforts to tackle staffing shortages in health care and – by extension – home-based care.

“It feels different to me,” she told Home Health Care News. “It feels like there is some renewed interest and effort to, on a bipartisan basis, work together on creative solutions that leverage all the interest and all the good ideas out there, to see something happen. I’m hopeful and I think this momentum is exciting.”


PQHH’s letter identifies four key things that its members would need to have in place to address the labor crisis.

These four things are: resources to increase wages; partnerships with educational institutions; tuition assistance and loan forgiveness for educational advancement in the home health field; and resources to address worker needs, such as transportation expenses and child care costs.

“These are all long-standing policy ideas that have been talked about for many years as ways to address the workforce labor shortage in the health care setting,” Cunningham said.

The letter also identified state legislation like the Kentucky Healthcare Workforce Development Act as a possible blueprint for a national solution.

The bill addresses workforce challenges by establishing the Kentucky Healthcare Workforce Investment Fund. The fund will create a public-private partnership that centers around workforce training and education initiatives.

Earlier this month, the bill passed in the Kentucky House in a 92-1 vote. Last week, the bill passed the Kentucky senate in a 35-1 vote, and delivered to Gov. Andy Beshear.

This particular state legislation stands out because it brings together both public and private sector entities, according to Cunningham.

“It’s a partnership that engages the private sector, health care organizations, insurers, others, as well as the government, to try to incentivize [all] to work together on this,” she said. “That is one of the reasons it has such an appeal in the Kentucky state government, but also in Washington. I’ve heard a number of members of the House and Senate recently talk about bipartisan solutions being the way we should be approaching these thorny policy issues. The Kentucky proposal certainly lands squarely in that category.”

The PQHH letter calls for Congress to incentivize states to implement health care workforce investment funds. In order to do this, Congress will need to bump up each state’s federal Medicaid match (FMAP).

Overall, Cunningham applauds the proactivity of Senators Cassidy and Sanders when it comes to looking for ways to end the workforce shortage.

“The impetus behind it really shows the seriousness of not just the need, but the desire by senators on both sides of the aisle to do something on addressing the health care workforce shortage,” she said.

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