Nursing home advocates laud Kohl's healthcare workforce bill

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Sen. Herb Kohl's (D-WI) new bill, "Retooling the Health Care Workforce for an Aging America Act of 2008," garnered strong praise Thursday from the nation's top nursing home advocates.

"The ability to recruit, retain and support high quality talent is essential for providing high-quality care and services," said Larry Minnix, president and CEO of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, in a statement. This act will offer more opportunity to invest in the long-term care workforce and effectively meet the needs of an aging society, he added.

American Health Care Association President and CEO Bruce Yarwood also said he approved of the new bill Thursday. In thanking Kohl, chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, for introducing the measure, Yarwood cited the 110,000 vacant full-time healthcare positions in the country.

"Your thoughtful legislation takes important steps in addressing our nation's health care workforce recruitment and retention challenges," Yarwood told the senator in his statement.

Alan Rosenbloom, president of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, added to the chorus of praise.

"We are pleased Senator Kohl has introduced this sweeping piece of legislation which deals directly with the fact that demand for long-term care workers far outstrips the available supply of the key workers our profession requires to sustain the provision of quality care today and the years ahead," he said in an announcement.