AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement Following Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pension Committee Hearing On Workforce Shortages in Health Care

Advocacy; 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 long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released a statement following the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee hearing on workforce shortages in health care.

The statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL:

“Long term care workers are an essential part of our health care system. We thank Senator Collins for bringing attention to the particular shortage of workers within the nursing home sector and how low Medicaid reimbursement rates hamper our ability to compete for medical professionals and caregivers. We are also encouraged that members of the committee recognize the need for an increased focus on geriatric medicine, given the rapid growth of our elderly population.

“From day one of the COVID-19 pandemic, heroic caregivers in our long term care facilities have stood on the front lines to protect our most vulnerable. Despite being forgotten at the outset, they worked day and night to protect our nation’s seniors and individuals with disabilities from this deadly disease. Their bravery and refusal to give up helped save lives.

“The long term care industry faced widespread staffing challenges long before the pandemic began. For years we have called on federal and state governments to implement policies that will help us recruit and retain more staff to our field. The pandemic has exacerbated these shortages, and employment in long term care is on a startling decline. The latest labor report shows that the health care sector lost about 19,500 nursing home and residential care jobs.  

“There will be an increased demand for long term care services, and without more staff, we will be unable to meet that demand. It’s time for lawmakers to help us address this crisis. We and LeadingAge have proposed the Care for Our Seniors Act, which offers several solutions that will help us strengthen our workforce, and we support the reintroduction of the 2019 Ensuring Seniors Access to Quality Care Act (S. 2993) to help retrain certified nursing assistants (CNAs). We are eager to work with lawmakers on these reforms that will create more meaningful jobs and ensure that America’s seniors receive the best care possible.”

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org.