Health Care Education Bill Advances

Legislation | October 22, 2019 | by Andrea Price-Carter

On October 22, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee approved H.R. 3398, the Pathways to Health Careers Act, by a vote of 24-16.  This legislation reauthorizes the Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) program before the current authorization expires on November 21, 2019. 

HPOG demonstration grants provide education, training, supportive services and career coaching to low-income individuals who are pursuing health care occupations. Training for CNAs and home health aides is part of the program, along with training for other kinds of health care professions.

The reauthorization allows skilled nursing facilities and nonprofit organizations to be included as an eligible entity to administer the HPOG projects. During committee mark-up, there were no substantive changes affecting nursing homes or nonprofit organizations.

The legislation funds the current grant cycle and authorizes new grants to make HPOG available to workers in all 50 states, tribal communities, and the U.S. territories. The funding structure was amended to allow for a five-year reauthorization at $425 million per year, beginning in 2021. Additionally, it establishes two new demonstration projects to test the HPOG model on a career pathway for the pregnancy, birth, and post-partum field, and on training people with arrest and conviction records.

On July 1, 2019, LeadingAge sent a letter of support to Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny Davis, applauding him for his leadership on the Pathways to Health Careers Act of 2019.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) hopes to move the bill to the House floor for a vote soon.