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Dingell, Casey Introduce Bill to Revitalize Nation’s Long-Term Care Workforce

Today, Representative Debbie Dingell (MI-06), co-chair of the Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Caucus, along with Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), introduced legislation to tackle the caregiving crisis by reprioritizing long-term caregivers and supporting their work based on the value they bring to families. 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 the 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 providing substantial new funding to support workers in every part of the long-term care industry, from nursing homes to home-care to assisted living facilities. By improving caregiver compensation, benefits, and support systems, the bill would ensure the nation has a strong, qualified pipeline of workers to provide much-needed care for older adults and people with disabilities.
“Caregiving is the foundation of our economy. It allows for all other work to be possible. No care worker should have to live below the poverty line to do this work that millions of Americans depend on. As many know, this is deeply personal for me – I was lucky to have my husband John receive care at home, but many others do not have the same opportunity,” said Congresswoman Dingell. “This legislation will make much needed investments in our care infrastructure and workforce, including family caregivers, to ensure they have the support they need, are paid a living wage, and are able to continue doing their critical jobs.”
“We have a crisis of caregiving in this country, and it’s a crisis that stems largely from a lack of support for and investment in our caregiving workforce,” said Senator Casey. “We cannot claim to be the greatest country in the world if we do not have the greatest caregiving in the world. We need to invest in these workers not just to ensure that caregiving can be a sustainable, lifelong career, but to improve the quality and availability of care for all who need it.”
“Every American, regardless of where they live, deserves access to quality, affordable care throughout their lives,” said Senator Kaine. “But too often, direct care workers in long-term care settings are overworked and underpaid, resulting in significant workforce shortages – especially in our rural communities. I’m proud to co-lead this legislation to help address the root causes of shortages in our care system, including by improving compensation and by providing pathways to enter the field. This will lead to healthier communities, and improved quality of life for older adults, people with disabilities, and their caregivers.”
“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.”
Caregiving is in crisis across the United States. 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

    The Long-Term Care Workforce Support Act is endorsed by 44 organizations, including 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).
    Dingell has long been a leader in Congress on expanding access to care, specifically home- and community- based services, and supporting the care workforce. She has introduced the Better Care Better Jobs Act and HCBS Access Act to enhance Medicaid funding for home care, strengthen the caregiving workforce, improve quality of life for families, and boost the economy by creating good paying jobs to make it possible for families and workers alike to thrive.
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