A new bill, The Nursing Home Workforce Support and Expansion Act, was introduced by four US Representatives this week. The intended goal is to increase wages and benefits for nursing home staff as reported by Skilled Nursing News.
Representative Steven Horsford of Nevada stated they introduced this bill because “the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the strain on America’s long-term care workers, who faced low wages and challenging work conditions even before the current crisis. The Nursing Home Workforce Support and Expansion Act will invest in long-term care workers – who are overwhelmingly woman of color – to help nursing homes retain their vital skills while expanding the workforce by attracting new and diverse talent.
The proposed bill will provide funding to nursing homes through grants which will be awarded based on the number of older adults over the age of 65 and number of adults with disabilities. Nursing homes across the country have been battling with staffing shortages for months now. A survey conducted by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care’s (NIC) showed 93% of the organizations are facing this problem.
Awarded funds would be used for “employee wage subsidies, student loan repayment or tuition assistance and childcare and transportation cost assistance to eligible workers.” They can also be used for an emergency financial crisis, ways to help employ more staff and for in-kind resource donations. The additional funds will help long-term care organizations be more competitive in the hiring process.
Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, expressed her support for the bill by stating “The Nursing Home Workforce Support and Expansion Act will help long-term care providers recruit and retain much-needed care professionals, leading to better care for millions of older Americans.