Sweeping legislation attacks long-term care workforce shortage

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An extensive new bill introduced Wednesday by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Aging, addresses the workforce crisis. It would provide funding and expand training in geriatrics and long-term care for healthcare workers.

The "Retooling the Health Care Workforce for an Aging America Act" would increase funding for grants in geriatrics at health professions schools, support additional training in geriatrics for nurses, and require government studies on workforce needs in long-term care. It also would establish tuition stipends to allow direct care workers in long-term care to acquire nursing degrees, among other provisions. The legislation follows several studies that have uncovered dire shortages in the nursing workforce and ranks of nursing educators. It amends several acts and calls for additional research.

Also Wednesday, Kohl released a report that found that federally funded research into aging concerns helps to inform Congress and other government agencies when implementing new programs and policies.