PHCA Applauds State Senate for Unanimous, Bipartisan Support of New Measure to Protect Jobs, Strengthen Long-Term Care Workforce Pipeline
HARRISBURG, PA – Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA), released the following statement after the Pennsylvania State Senate’s unanimous, bipartisan passage of Senate Bill 1268, which would enable temporary nurse aides hired in nursing homes, personal care homes and assisted living communities during the COVID-19 emergency to seek full-time employment as certified nurse aides (CNAs):
“On behalf of long-term care providers across the state, including nursing homes, personal care homes and assisted living communities, we are extremely grateful for the leadership of the prime sponsor, Senator Judy Ward, Senate President Joe Scarnati, Majority Leader Jake Corman, Appropriations Chairman Pat Browne, Minority Leader Jay Costa, Education Committee Chairman Wayne Langerholc, and members of the state Senate for prioritizing Pennsylvania’s long-term care providers and unanimously supporting Senate Bill 1268.
“Today, we are one step closer to putting our temporary nurse aides on a permanent path towards full-time employment.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, long-term care providers in Pennsylvania faced arguably the greatest workforce crisis in the history of our industry. But since the temporary nurse aide program was formally approved in April, nearly 3,000 Pennsylvanians have completed the training required to care for our most vulnerable population.
“Temporary nurse aides are being hired by long-term care providers every day, and their commitment to patient care, coupled with the lessons they’ve learned during an unprecedented public health emergency, has strengthened a workforce pipeline that had been careening toward disaster for years.
“However, if federal waivers expired and emergency declarations ended today, these hardworking aides would be forced to vacate their jobs, and they would not be deemed qualified or eligible for the state nurse aide registry. This vital legislation would ensure their continued role in our facilities and communities.
“We look forward to working with members of the House of Representatives to guarantee these caregivers – our healthcare heroes – can continue their employment long after the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end. The care of our most vulnerable population depends on it.”