AHCA/NCAL Applauds Reintroduction Of Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act

Advocacy; Legislative; Workforce
​Washington, D.C. – The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and other long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released a statement following the reintroduction of the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act yesterday by U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider (D-IL-10), Tom Cole (R-OK-04), Yadira Caraveo (D-CO-08), and Don Bacon (R-NE-02). 
“We applaud these Members of Congress for standing up for our nation’s seniors and caregivers during this critical time by reintroducing the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act,” said Clif Porter, senior vice president of government relations of AHCA/NCAL. “Supportive policies like the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act will help nursing homes build a strong pipeline of caregivers by creating more opportunities for international nurses to join our workforce and set them on a path toward a long and rewarding career.” 
Immigrants make up a vital part of the long term care workforce. AHCA/NCAL has long advocated to improve the visa process. Many international health care professionals with approved immigrant petitions and job offers from long term care facilities in the United States have been waiting for months, or in some cases more than a year, for a visa interview appointment. The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act allows for the recapture of unused visas from previous fiscal years for doctors, nurses, and their families. The legislation would also direct the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to expedite the processing of these applications. 
“As we face a growing elderly population yet a shortage of health care workers, creating more opportunities for international nurses to immigrate to the U.S. will help strengthen our long term care workforce and protect access to care,” continued Porter. “These are dedicated nurses who want to serve America’s seniors, and they and their families should be welcomed with open arms. We hope Congress will swiftly pass the critical piece of legislation.” 
The Biden Administration recently proposed a federal staffing mandate for nursing homes in the midst of this historic workforce crisis, which would require nursing homes to hire an additional 100,000 caregivers. This kind of unfunded, blanket policy will not solve the labor shortage and would have the opposite-intended effect.
“We hope the Biden Administration will follow the lead of Senators Cramer and Durbin and Representatives Schneider, Cole, Caraveo, and Bacon and focus on more meaningful solutions that help nursing homes strengthen their workforce,” Porter concluded.
AHCA/NCAL continues to advocate for comprehensive workforce policies that will support staff recruitment and retention, including immigration reform. Recently, AHCA/NCAL, along with 13 other senior care organizations, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of State urging the agency to prioritize visa processing for nurse cases so more frontline caregivers can enter the workforce.