Lehigh Valley business leaders endorse Keller’s Nurses CARE Act

March 18, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. —This week, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter of support for Congressman Keller’s Nurses CARE Act, bipartisan legislation he introduced alongside Congresswoman Susan Wild (D-PA) to strengthen the healthcare workforce and protect seniors during the pandemic. Specifically, this legislation would permit states to allow Temporary Nurse Aides’ on-the-job experience to be counted toward their official certification—ensuring continuity of care for residents living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

 

“In the Lehigh Valley, the healthcare industry continues to be the number one employer, making up approximately 20% of workforce in the area,” the letter reads. “Registered Nurses are the number one occupation in the Lehigh Valley, but the demand continues to outpace the supply. We strongly believe your bill will make a significant impact on the current nursing shortage we are seeing not only in the Lehigh Valley, but also around the United States.”

 

The Nurses CARE Act is also endorsed by the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, Americans for Prosperity, and ManorCare Health Services.

 

You can read the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce’s letter of support here.

 

BACKGROUND:

 

In response to COVID-19, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued Section 1135 waivers to provide states with greater flexibility to direct personnel and resources to patients in need. While this regulatory flexibility has been an essential tool in preventing critical health care shortages by employing Temporary Nurse Aides (TNAs) to offer care during the pandemic, it is set to expire when the national emergency declaration is lifted.

 

The Nurses CARE Act works to build on the success of CMS’s Section 1135 waivers and provide states with the necessary flexibility to ensure that competent TNAs who provided critical services during the pandemic can retain their certification after the national emergency declaration has expired. Additionally, this legislation would allow states and facilities to offer on-the-job experience as a partial substitute for certification courses, testing, and other evaluations—thus providing a pathway to full-time employment for TNAs who answered the call during the COVID-19 pandemic and have already received extensive on-the-job training.

 

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