ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Argentum, an Alexandria-based association for professionally managed senior living communities, has unveiled new coalition letters to Capitol Hill with solutions to stem the workforce shortage crisis in senior care.
These letters, in coordination with the American Senior Housing Association (ASHA) and LeadingAge, call on Congressional leadership and the House 21st Century Long-Term Care Caucus to build and train the workforce needed now and into the future to care for the nation’s rapidly aging population.
“The lead up to the midterm elections is the ideal time to bring attention to the senior living workforce crisis, which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic,” says Maggie Elehwany, senior vice president of public affairs, Argentum. “Argentum recently met with White House officials on the Domestic Policy Council and separately with senior advisors at the Department of Labor to discuss the needs of senior living providers with policymakers at the highest levels of government.”
“We are developing legislation to transform and retool current federal policies that could significantly alleviate the crisis with proper federal investment,” adds Elehwany.
The coalition letters to Congress on senior living workforce development priorities, the timing of which aligns with the critical government funding process where Congress will determine how federal funds are appropriated to each agency, include the need for immigration solutions, a refocus on federal workforce development programs, and tax incentives for both workers and employers.
“Common-sense immigration discussions are a necessary component to help alleviate the workforce shortage crisis,” says Elehwany. Argentum also recently submitted testimony to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee panel conducting a hearing entitled “Flatlining Care: Why Immigrants Are Crucial to Bolstering Our Health Care Workforce.”
This effort follows work through the past few months with other trade associations to unite to sound the alarm on the workforce crisis. Unified messaging during September focused on the severity of the crisis due to the rapidly aging population.
“In the next decade, for the first time in our country’s history, there will be more children than seniors. We simply aren’t building the workforce that will be needed to care for these seniors,” says Elehwany.
Argentum is building on efforts from earlier in 2022, when a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House introduced the SENIOR Act. This legislation provided $10 billion in COVID financial relief, and an additional $1.25 billion for workforce development grants.