U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

Baldwin Leads Bill to Support Caregivers and Combat Workforce Shortages

Caregivers are widely underpaid, often living in poverty, leading to chronic shortage in nursing homes and assisted living facilities

By - Apr 16th, 2024 10:45 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Long-Term Care Workforce Support Act, a bill to alleviate the long-term care workforce shortages by supporting the workers who perform this critical work. Millions of families with aging loved ones and people with disabilities require skilled care to live, but many caregivers today work long hours for low pay, resulting in some workers being forced to leave their field for higher paying jobs. This instability has resulted in widespread worker shortages for those in need of essential care. The Long-Term Care Workforce Support Act would ensure that caregiving can be a sustainable, lifelong career by improving caregiver compensation, benefits, and support systems.

“Having served as my grandmother’s primary caregiver as she aged, I know the hard work that goes into caregiving and the world of difference high-quality care makes for our loved ones,” said Senator Baldwin. “Right now, we’re facing a desperate shortage in our long-term care workforce and sadly, it’s no surprise: many caregivers are forced to be on the clock for long hours, get low pay, and work in tough conditions. We owe it to caregivers who devote their lives to helping others to invest in the caregiving workforce, giving these compassionate workers the respect they deserve, attracting fresh talent, and ensuring our loved ones get high-quality care.”

Caregivers are widely underpaid, earning a median wage of $15.43 an hour and often living in poverty. The result is caregivers are in short supply—a recent survey revealed 92% of nursing home respondents and nearly 70% of assisted living facilities reported significant or severe workforce shortages. Another recent survey of home and community-based services (HCBS) providers showed all 50 states experiencing home care worker shortages, and 43 states reported that some HCBS providers have closed due to worker shortages.

The Long-Term Care Workforce Support Act will address this crisis by stabilizing, growing, and supporting the direct care professional workforce. Specifically, the Long-Term Care Workforce Support Act will:

  • Increase the number of direct care professionals, including in rural communities;
  • Provide pathways to enter and be supported in the workforce for women, people of color, and people with disabilities;
  • Improve compensation for direct care professionals to reduce vacancies and turnover;
  • Ensure that direct care professionals are treated with respect, provided with a safe working environment, protected from exploitation, and provided fair compensation;
  • Improve access and quality of long-term care for families;
  • Document the need for long-term care, identify effective recruitment and training strategies, and promote practices that help retain direct care professionals.
  • Strengthen the direct care professional workforce in order to support the 53,000,000 unpaid family caregivers who are providing complex services to their loved ones in the home and across long-term care settings.

Senator Baldwin leads the legislation with Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), and this legislation is also co-sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Angus King (I-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), John Fetterman (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Peter Welch (D-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Ed Markey (D-MA).

The Long-Term Care Workforce Support Act is supported by Caring Across Generations, the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC), PHI, the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), Cure SMA, the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA), the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, the American Academy of Audiology, the American Physical Therapy Association, the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University, the National Association of State Ombudsman Programs, the Council on Social Work Education, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and the Coalition to End Social Isolation and Loneliness.

An online version of this release is available here.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

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