WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (PA-04) and Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02) reintroduced the bipartisan Building America’s Health Care Workforce Act, a bill to help bolster America’s health care workforce in nursing homes.
Prior to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, individuals working in Medicare-Medicaid certified long term care facilities were only permitted to work as nurse aides for four months unless they became certified. To become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), individuals would be required to complete at least 75 hours of state-approved training and competency evaluation program within those four months. The Trump Administration waived these requirements at the beginning of the pandemic to address the significant workforce shortage as a result of COVID-19. Temporary nurse aides could work in these facilities for longer than four months as long as they completed approved training and showed competency in providing nursing and nursing-related services.
The Building America’s Health Care Workforce Act builds off these important flexibilities by extending this policy for 24 months. This bill would also allow temporary nurse aides to put on-the-job experience and training toward the 75-hour training requirement to become a CNA.
“Nurses are essential to our healthcare system — temporary nurse aides (TNAs) are no exception. The Building America’s Health Care Workforce Act will help TNAs gain more time and firsthand experience in long-term care facilities so they can learn and grow in their careers,” Rep. Dean said. “We saw how essential these workers were during the pandemic, and the reintroduction of our bipartisan legislation will ensure that our seniors have the best possible care. I look forward to it passing through Congress and being signed by President Biden."
“Quality care for seniors in nursing homes continues to be threatened by historic workforce losses in nursing homes. I reintroduced the Building America’s Health Care Workforce Act to bolster America’s nursing home workforce by extending a pathway for temporary nurse aides to become Certified Nursing Assistants. This legislation not only helps strengthen the nursing workforce to ensure seniors have access to safe and quality care, but this also provides an opportunity for workers to further their careers and earn higher wages. I hope this bipartisan legislation is quickly moved through Congress and to the president’s desk,” Rep. Guthrie said.
The Building America’s Health Care Workforce Act builds off these important flexibilities by extending this policy for 24 months following the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Specifically, this bill would allow temporary nurse aides to continue employment in this role and allow them to put on-the-job experience and training toward the 75-hour training requirement to become a CNA. This would maintain patient safety protections by requiring competency evaluations that assess temporary nurse aides on a variety of factors, including interpersonal skills, basic nursing skills, personal care skills, and mental health and social service needs. It would also allow continuity of care for residents served in nursing homes so they can retain their direct caregivers, who have been by their side thanks to the waiver being in place.
Rep. Madeleine Dean is a mother, grandmother, attorney, professor, former four-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and U.S. Representative for the Fourth District of Pennsylvania.