Health Care Bill Amendment Highlights Direct-Care Workforce

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Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) and the Iowa Caregivers Association are Atlantic grantees. The 2008 Institute of Medicine report, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce was funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies.

by Aaron Toleos

An amendment to America’s Affordable Health Choices Act added in the House Education and Labor Committee would require the development of recommendations for:

  • promoting and investing in the direct-care workforce
  • assisting states with direct-care workforce plans
  • the creation of a Personal Care Attendant Workforce Advisory Panel

In addition to other responsibilities, the advisory panel would be charged with developing core competencies for personal and home care aides as well as necessary training curricula and resources. Panel recommendations would then serve as the basis for a demonstration project in up to four states to test the effectiveness of the proposed training standards and curricula.

The amendment was introduced by Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Congressman Jason Altmire (D-PA), at the encouragement of PHI and the Iowa CareGivers Association.

“Direct-care workers are at the frontline of health care,” said Congressman Loebsack. “They are the heroes who care for our elderly and disabled, and we must do everything we can to ensure that they have the training and resources they need so that we can continue to provide Iowans, and all Americans, with the quality health care they deserve.”

While some states have training requirements for personal and home care aides, there are no federal training standards for this segment of the workforce despite the fact that this occupation is among thesecond fastest-growing in the country.

The 2008 Institute of Medicine report, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce, garnered much public attention and included strong recommendations for creating training standards for personal and home care aides.

Source: PHInational.org: http://phinational.org