LTC gathering stresses workforce issues for White House conference

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A more stable nursing home workforce, more educated residents, or even a long-term care cabinet-level post could be policy topics of the 2005 White House Conference on Aging in October.

More than 120 stakeholders met Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington at a "mini conference" to form a list of about a dozen long-term care policy recommendations for the conference. Workplace issues emerged as the top priority, said Angelo Rotella, first vice chair of the American Health Care Association.

"We had three workout groups and it seemed as if every group honed in on workforce issues, a well-trained, well-paid and stable workforce," Rotella said.

Better education of consumers also should be a point of emphasis, Rotella said. Another recommendation was to create a presidential cabinet-level post for the oversight of long-term care policy. Planning committee members were expected to send finalized recommendations from this week to the main conference's planning committee within 30 days.

The White House Conference on Aging is held only once every 10 years. In the past, it has led to huge policy changes, including the creation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs in the 1960s.

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