The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) will hold a markup of the Bipartisan Primary Care and Health Workforce Act, sponsored by Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security Ranking Member Roger Marshall (R-KS), on September 21.
The bill seeks to address shortages of nurses and other health care jobs across the country. “After over a month of very productive and thoughtful negotiations, I am delighted to announce that Senator Marshall and I have reached an agreement on a historic bipartisan bill to expand primary care and to reduce the massive shortage of nurses and primary care doctors in America,” Sen. Sanders said in a September 14 statement.
The bill would allocate $1.2 billion over four years to nonprofit community colleges and state universities to increase the number of students enrolled in accredited, two-year registered nursing programs. Awardees would be charged with expanding class sizes, increasing the number of two-year nurses trained nationwide, increasing the number of qualified preceptors at clinical rotation sites, providing direct support for students, supporting partnerships with health facilities for clinical training, and purchasing distance learning technology and simulation equipment, among other duties. Chair Sanders and Ranking Member Marshall say the Bipartisan Primary Care and Health Workforce Act would train 60,000 nurses.
LeadingAge supports the bill and looks forward to ensuring resources also appropriately support the aging services health care workforce. Read a summary of the bill here.