November 10, 2023
Contact: Eric Heisler, eheisler@phca.org
Cell: 717-678-1031

Senator Argall Announces a Co-Sponsorship Memo in Preparation for a Package of Bills to Address Long-Term Care Workforce Challenges

Senate Republicans partner with PHCA to identify career entry solutions

Harrisburg, PA (November 10, 2023) — Senator Dave Argall (R-Schuylkill) circulated a co-sponsorship memo announcing his intention to introduce a package of bills that takes aim at the long-term care workforce crisis. In collaboration with the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) –– Pennsylvania’s leading advocacy organization for long-term care –– Senator Argall identified a legislative path that modernizes caregiver training and breaks down barriers that limit workers from being hired for careers in long-term care.

“When my parents required help in local long-term care facilities, my family and I saw how hard our caregivers worked to keep them safe,” said Argall. “We must take action now to encourage more people to pursue careers in long-term care so that all of our families can receive quality care in the future.”

Pennsylvania currently ranks fifth among all other states for being home to the highest population of residents age 80 and older. By 2040, that same demographic will nearly double in size compared to 2020. As a result, demand for long-term care services only continues to dramatically climb at a time when the sector is faced with not having enough caregivers. Nursing care, in particular, is operating at a low employee rate not seen since the early 1990s. Pennsylvania has lost 14 percent of its nursing home workforce –– 30,000 caregivers –– since 2019, according to a recent report conducted by the Independent Fiscal Office.

“Without caregivers, Pennsylvania will be unable to meet the demand to provide care for our most vulnerable and fastest growing demographic,” said Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association. “In an effort to overcome some of our sector’s workforce challenges, Senator Argall has stepped up to help deliver solutions that will break down barriers that restrict the hiring of caregivers. Before providers can even recruit new workers, we must improve the licensure and certification processes that are preventing caregivers from carrying out their mission of caring for others.”

The legislative initiatives are broken down as follows.

  • Workforce initiative #1: modernizes CNA training 
    • This bill works to modernize Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) training in Pennsylvania by establishing a uniformed, state-wide CNA training program, allowing nurse graduates and students to take the CNA certification exam without completing the nurse aide training program.
  • Workforce initiative #2: allows high school juniors and seniors to obtain credit towards graduation requirements for working in congregate care settings
    • This bill seeks to identify and recruit the next generation of workers to valuable careers in caregiving by allowing high school juniors and seniors to earn up to two credits toward their graduation requirements for employment in care settings including: nursing homes, personal care homes and assisted living residences.
  • Workforce initiative #3: allows for interested caregivers to take a skills competency examination if they cannot produce a high school diploma or GED
    • This bill requires the Department of Human Services to offer a skills competency examination for those without a high school diploma or GED who want to work in a senior living community.

Members of all caucuses are encouraged to support these initiatives once introduced as bills to help expedite the implementation of the legislation and deliver these solutions promptly to the long-term care community.

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