October 24, 2023

Senate HELP Committee on Workforce

October 24, 2023

Senate HELP Field Hearing on Nursing Staff in Hospitals

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a field hearing, “Overworked and Undervalued: Is the Severe Hospital Staffing Crisis Endangering the Well-Being of Patients and Nurses.” The hearing, to be held at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, on Fri. Oct. 27, 2023 at 9 a.m. ET can be watched via live stream here.

LeadingAge will monitor the hearing; we are planning to submit testimony for the record, highlighting that a shortage (or mandates) in one health care setting has ripple effects on the entire health and long-term care ecosystem.

October 09, 2023

HELP Committee Senator Seeks Greater Focus on Education

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), lead Republican of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions (HELP), is not pleased with the Committee’s lack of progress addressing education, recently saying, “I don’t think we have, besides workforce development.” The Committee has scheduled and postponed markups of four workforce development bills, including the JOBS Act and Gateway to Careers Act. Cassidy is frustrated by the recent delays and said the Committee should focus on issues including literacy and dyslexia. The Senator previously introduced the 21st Century Dyslexia Act and acknowledged it is not for lack of interest causing education to not receive the attention it deserves, noting “We’ve been scrambling to try and take care of things that had to be reauthorized prior to the funding cut off.”

Cassidy promised a renewed interest and focus on education saying, “We’re going to be doing an effort regarding the lack of literacy because there’s a real issue right now with poor literacy in our nation.”

July 20, 2023

Sanders Offers Bold Action to Address Workforce Challenges

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, introduced the Primary Care and Health Workforce Expansion Act on July 19, which will be marked up on July 26. LeadingAge responded to a request for information on the health care workforce that Sanders and Ranking Member Bill Cassidy (R-LA) put out in March.

Included in the new bill are a number of policies that LeadingAge supports. Some highlights include:

  • Creating a fund of $1 billion to provide grants to states, non-profits, and community colleges to help train, recruit, and hire direct care workers. This provision also provides $2 million annually for the next five years to establish a technical assistance center to support the direct care workforce and family caregivers. This is Sen. Tim Kaine’s (D-VA) Supporting Our Direct Care Workforce and Family Caregivers Act.
  • Investing $20 million annually for a total of $100 million over five years, to support training of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, chaplains, psychologists and physician assistants in team-based palliative care; raise awareness of the services and benefits of palliative care; and fund research to improve care delivery (This is Senator Baldwin and Senator Capito’s Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act).
  • Establishing a grant program to support internationally-trained health care workers who are legally able to work in the U.S. but are either not in the workforce or are practicing below their level of training due to barriers to accessing education (e.g., a registered nurse working as a health aide).
  • Creates and reauthorizes a number of programs related to the nursing workforce. The programs range from loan repayment, incentivizing nurses to return to clinical care, and expanding access to two-year associate degree nursing programs.

April 27, 2023

Senate HELP Taps Six Members for Workforce Focus

This week, the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee assigned six Senators to work more closely on developing the Committee’s bipartisan health care workforce shortage bill. LeadingAge will work our state partners to encourage members with communities in these states to contact these Senators and ask that provisions to address the aging services workforce crisis be included in the HELP Committee’s bipartisan legislation.

Read the full bulletin for more details.

March 20, 2023

Solutions for Aging Services Workforce Shortage

On March 20, LeadingAge responded to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s request for information related to the health care workforce with a sweeping review of the causes and potential solutions to the severe aging services workforce shortage. LeadingAge’s comments included data, member testimonials, and powerful policy solutions.

“The future health, well-being, and lives of older Americans are in your hands. These problems are resolvable with the right set of policy actions,” the comments say.

Read LeadingAge’s full comments here.