Legislation to Support Long-Term Care Workers Approved by Senate

HARRISBURG – Legislation authored by Sen. Dave Argall (R-29) to update training procedures and remove employment barriers so more people can join the long-term care workforce was approved with bipartisan support by the Senate today.

“Too many of our families, including mine, have faced the difficult decision of moving a parent or grandparent into a long-term care center,” Argall said. “The professionals who make sure they are cared for and respected have an extremely important job yet are facing increasing challenges because of workforce shortages. These bills are essential.”

Senate Bill 1102 would expand both the availability of long-term care training courses for nurse aides and the eligibility for individuals to take the nurse aide competency exam. Senior advocates strongly support these changes, noting that they would remove barriers for those seeking employment at long-term care centers while still ensuring employees are well-qualified. This bill was approved by a vote of 42-8.

Senate Bill 1104 would allow high school juniors and seniors to earn up to two credits toward their graduation requirement by employment in a long-term nursing care facility, a personal care home, or an assisted living residence. This would allow these students to enter the workforce more quickly. This bill was approved by a vote of 29-21.

“Pennsylvania’s fastest growing demographic is adults aged 80 and older. We know this growing portion of our population will need long-term care, and to provide that care Pennsylvania will need a significant amount of qualified caregivers,” said Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association. “The workforce shortage is a problem that is happening across the commonwealth today, creating significant challenges for our older loved ones and neighbors. These bills sponsored by Sen. Argall will remove barriers to entry and help introduce more prospective caregivers to careers in long-term care. We are thankful for the Senate’s recognition of the importance of these initiatives, and we hope the House will take up and pass these bills as well.”

The number of Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older is expected to double by the year 2040. Despite the sharp increase in this population, labor statistics revealed that from 2019 to 2022, Pennsylvania saw a 14% decrease in long-term care professionals.

Both bills now advance to the House of Representatives for consideration.

CONTACT: Jim Brugger

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