Bill would expand education, training for workers in LTC

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Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)
A group of bipartisan U.S. senators and congressmen last month introduced legislation to offer more educational and training opportunities for healthcare workers in long-term care and gerontology.

The Retooling the Health Care Workforce for an Aging America Act would amend the Public Health Service Act, the Workforce Investment Act, the Older Americans Act, and the Social Security Act. The aim of the legislation is to expand skill sets and knowledge among licensed healthcare professionals, direct care workers and family caregivers. 

U.S. Sens. Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Bob Casey (D-PA), and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the staffing-focused bill.

“When you look at economic data in Pennsylvania and across the country, we see a lot of bad news,” Casey said in a public statement about the bill. “There is a real shortage of healthcare workers to care for our older citizens.”

Absent any change, by 2020, the supply of nurses in the United States will fall 29% below projected requirements. Also, only 1% of all physicians (approximately 7,000) are certified geriatricians today and fewer than 1% of all nurses are certified gerontological nurses, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine.

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