Bill to Improve Training and Efficient Use of Direct Care Workers Introduced

Legislation | October 31, 2017 | by Peter Notarstefano

U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright re-introduced legislation to Improve Training and Efficient Use of Direct Care Workers who care for older adults.

U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright re-introduced legislation to Improve Training and Efficient Use of Direct Care Workers who care for older adults. The Improving Care for Vulnerable Older Citizens through Workforce Advancement Act H.R.3461  would establish demonstration projects to test models of care that use direct-care workers (DCWs) in advanced roles, including nursing assistants, home health aides, or personal care aides. These demonstration projects would study care coordination and improved delivery of health services for older adults with chronic illness or at-risk of re-hospitalization.

“We must address the growing need for improved training and efficient use of direct-care workers,” said Rep. Cartwright. “In Pennsylvania alone, older citizens comprise more than 15 percent of the population, and the direct-care workforce is among the fastest growing occupations in the state. This legislation would help improve the care offered by direct-care workers and lower care costs for both older Americans and the health care industry.”

The bill would amend Title IV of the Older Americans Act of 1965 to establish six, three-year demonstration projects. Of the six demonstration projects:

  • Two will use the abilities of direct-care workers to promote smooth transitions in care and help to prevent unnecessary hospital readmissions. Direct-care workers will be incorporated as essential members of interdisciplinary care coordination teams.
  • Two will focus on maintaining the health and improving the health status of older adults with multiple chronic conditions and long-term care needs. Direct-care workers will help monitor health status, help consumers follow prescribed care, and educate the consumer and family caregiver(s).
  • Two will train Direct-care workers to take on deeper clinical responsibilities related to specific diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

LeadingAge praises Rep. Cartwright for introducing this innovative legislation that could be a catalyst to improving the recruitment and retention of direct care workers.