PHCA Applauds House of Representatives for Unanimous, Bipartisan Support in Protecting Long-Term Care Heroes, Strengthening Workforce Pipeline
HARRISBURG, PA – Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA), issued the following statement following the Pennsylvania House of Representative’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 House Speaker Bryan Cutler, Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor, Minority Leader Frank Dermody, Aging and Older Adult Services Committee Chairman Gary Day, and every member of the state House for prioritizing Pennsylvania’s long-term care providers and supporting Senate Bill 1268.
“And, of course, we thank the prime sponsor of this legislation, Senator Judy Ward, for her continued leadership, as well as House Education Committee Chairman Curt Sonney, who introduced companion legislation in the House.
“With the passage of Senate Bill 1268, 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 the greatest workforce crisis in the history of our sector. But since the temporary nurse aide program was formally approved in April, nearly 4,000 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. This vital legislation would ensure their continued role in our facilities and communities.
“Senate Bill 1268 now heads to Governor Tom Wolf’s desk, after receiving unanimous approval in both the House and Senate. We look forward to working with Governor Wolf to ensure thousands of brave men and women – our healthcare heroes – can continue their service long after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. The care of our most vulnerable population depends on it.”