Scott, Warner Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Hiring of Caregivers for Seniors
WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) re-introduced the Ensuring Seniors’ Access to Quality Care Act, which would bolster the nursing home workforce by allowing more facilities to train Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and enabling facilities to access a comprehensive background check database when hiring employees. Sens. Scott and Warner first introduced this legislation 2019.
“South Carolina is home to around 200 skilled nursing facilities that serve thousands of individuals in their golden years,” Sen. Scott said. “At zero cost to taxpayers, this bill will help ensure these facilities hire the best candidates, improving the quality of care for seniors across the nation.”
“Our seniors are owed compassionate, qualified caregivers as they age and depend more and more on professional assistance,” Sen. Warner said. “This legislation will provide senior living facilities with the tools they need to hire experienced staff and to continue to meet the high demand for workers without sacrificing quality care.”
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the need for nursing assistants and orderlies to care for the growing aging population is projected to rise 8 percent from 2020 to 2030. The senators’ legislation would amend overly restrictive regulations that bar certain senior living facilities from conducting training programs for in-house CNAs for a two-year period after a care facility is found to have deficiencies, such as poor conditions or patient safety violations. Specifically, the legislation would allow a senior living facility to reinstate its CNA training program if:
- The facility has corrected the deficiency;
- The deficiency did not result in an immediate risk to patient safety and is not the result of patient harm resulting from abuse or neglect; and
- The facility has not received a repeat deficiency related to direct patient harm in the preceding two year period.
The senators’ bill would also give employers at senior living facilities access to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) – a national criminal background check system – allowing them to screen and vet potential employees to ensure that caregivers do not have a history that would endanger the seniors they are employed to look after.
Full text of the bill is available here.