AHCA/NCAL’s Advocacy Efforts Gain Legislative Momentum

Advocacy; AHCA/NCAL Updates

AHCA/NCAL has a few legislative priorities that are gaining momentum due to the hard work of the association and its advocates. HR 7744, Building America’s Health Care Workforce, also known as the TNA Workforce Bill. Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) introduced this bipartisan bill with cosponsors Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) & Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) in May 2022. Currently, in nursing homes, the 1135 waiver on training and certification of nurse aides allows vital support to critical staffing needs for care of residents during the pandemic. Based on this waiver, in spring 2020, AHCA/NCAL created a TNA training course. The TNA waiver ended on June 6, 2022, and only four months are provided in statute for TNAs to become CNAs. This bill provides a responsible grace period of 24 months to continue the emergency waivers after the public health emergency ends, enabling all TNAs who wish to become CNAs. The grace period accommodates the time that is needed for training and testing capacities to meet demands. 

After targeted lobbying efforts, including meetings and facility tours with MOCs, this bill currently has 22 cosponsors, and a Senate version of the bill is expected to be introduced this Fall.  

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-NC) reintroduced S. 4381 Ensuring Seniors Access to Quality Care Act in June 2022. Under current law, CNA training programs are automatically revoked for two years or cannot be initiated if a SNF is issued $11,995 or more in civil monetary penalties (CMPs). This CMP amount could be imposed for a reason that did not reflect quality of care, harm to a resident, or an episode that reflects systemic problems. 

This bipartisan bill will ensure that CNAs have access to the quality training needed to provide care to residents. This bill will specifically allow nursing facilities to resume their in-house education programs if: 

  • ​The facility has corrected the deficiency for which the CMP was assessed; 
  • The deficiency for which the CMP was assessed did not result in an immediate risk to patient safety and is not the result of patient harm resulting from abuse or neglect; 
  • The facility has not received a repeat deficiency related to direct patient harm in the preceding two-year period. 
This bill will also give providers access to the National Practitioner Data Bank to conduct background checks and help identify the best candidates. Through consistent and resilient efforts by AHCA/NCAL, a House version of this bill will be introduced in the upcoming weeks as Congress returns from District work. 

The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, S. 1024 / H.R. 2255 is a bipartisan and bicameral bill gaining great support in both the House and the Senate. Introduced by Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in the Senate and Reps. Bradley Schneider (D-IL), Rom Cole (R-OK), and Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) in the House. Both bills have gained bipartisan support with 25 Senate cosponsors and 70 Representative cosponsors. This bill would recapture unused visas from previous fiscal years for doctors, nurses, and their families. This legislation allows the entry of nurses with approved immigrant visas and allows physicians with approved immigrant petitions to adjust their status, so that they can work in long term care facilities and have a durable immigration status. In addition to setting aside these previously unused visas for physician and nurses, this bill also would require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and State Department to expedite the processing of recaptured visas for highly trained nurses.