LeadingAge Reax: Aging Services Leader on Biden Caregiving Executive Order
Contact: Lisa Sanders
April 18, 2023 Washington, DC — When too many American families – including older adults – cannot access the care and services they desperately need, today’s Executive Order brings much-needed attention, but not adequate solutions, to the long-term care sector, Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO, LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, released the following statement, in advance of attending the Rose Garden signing ceremony this afternoon.
“LeadingAge has long advocated for an all-of-government approach to ensuring greater access to aging services—and addressing the workforce crisis must be the top priority. Today’s announcement shows that the Biden White House has been listening—but, sadly, the order does not meet the ever-growing needs of America’s older adults and families.
- The focus on home and community-based services is too limited and must extend beyond care in the home to address the breadth of the aging care continuum. It doesn’t provide support for other care settings like adult day programs, assisted living, hospice and more, on which millions of older adults and families rely.
- What’s worse, the administration’s approach favors one part of the continuum over another. The order bolsters the home care workforce, while punishing nursing home providers for shortages—despite the reality that employers in both care settings navigate the same challenges in a competitive labor market.
- The administration is still getting it wrong on nursing homes. Over a million older adults rely on the specialized care only nursing homes provide. Already, nursing homes around the country are closing or limiting admissions due to staffing shortages. Why take that option away from the people who need it by implementing punitive policies that potentially worsen, rather than remedy, the ongoing staffing crisis? We are particularly concerned by the threat of withholding Medicare payment if providers don’t have workers – when workers simply don’t exist.
Without staff there is no care. We still desperately need to remedy the severe workforce crisis in long-term care. In addition to increasing reimbursement and wages, the country must address immigration to build a pipeline of new workers through proven programs and pathways for those ready and willing to work in our field.
Now that the Administration has directed nearly every cabinet-level agency to act, LeadingAge reiterates our call to create a White House Office on Aging Policy. It’s time for coordinated federal leadership with focused expertise to address the unique needs of older Americans.
Today’s order outlines ambitious goals at a high level and we look forward to working with the White House as more details emerge.”About LeadingAge:
We represent more than 5,000 nonprofit aging services providers and other mission-minded organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we use applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building to make America a better place to grow old. Our membership, which now includes the providers of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, encompasses the continuum of services for people as they age, including those with disabilities. We bring together the most inventive minds in the field to lead and innovate solutions that support older adults wherever they call home. For more information visit leadingage.org.
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