News Medical Life Sciences: AGS commends Congress for prioritizing care for older adults in response to COVID-19
March 31, 2020
Reviewed by James Ives, M. Psych. (Editor)
As we continue to review the stimulus in detail, we applaud Senators Bob Casey and Susan Collins, as well as Representatives Michael Burgess and Jan Schakowsky, who were instrumental in helping prioritize long-term solutions serving older adults in this rapid response to COVID-19."
- Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA, CEO, American Geriatrics Society
The proposals included in the COVID-19 package incorporate language from the earlier proposed Title VII Health Care Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 (S. 2997) in the Senate and Educating Medical Professionals and Optimizing Workforce Efficiency and Readiness (EMPOWER) for Health Act of 2019 (H.R. 2781) in the House.
While AGS experts remain pleased to see the GWEPs and GACAs reauthorized, they did express concern that the final authorizing level of $40.7 million could compromise the future success of both programs. The AGS continues to advocate for increased funding totaling $51 million, which would do much to close the current geographic and demographic gaps in geriatrics workforce training.
Powered by grantees working on local solutions to workforce shortages across the U.S., the GWEPs educate and engage the broader frontline workforce and family caregivers, and focus on opportunities to improve the quality of care delivered to older adults.
And as a program rooted in sustaining geriatrics education, the GACAs represent an essential complement to the GWEP. By supporting time for professional development and instructional advancement, the GACAs ensure we can equip early career clinician-educators to become leaders in geriatrics training and research.
As Lundebjerg summarizes:
The GWEP provides support for the current transformation of primary care, while the GACA develops the next generation of innovators to improve care outcomes and care delivery. Together, these programs play a critical role in developing the workforce we all need as we age."
Across both these efforts, the current coronavirus stimulus plan would authorize funding of $40.7 million annually through 2024. This would allow current and future GWEP and GACA awardees to:
Both the legislative language itself and the individual programs it supports draw considerable insight from the Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA), a collaborative comprised of more than 30 member organizations co-convened by the AGS and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).
Like EWA, the coronavirus stimulus package now reflects the diverse expertise of millions of health professionals who support older Americans--and understand the best path forward for sustaining that momentum.
The AGS expressed gratitude for the leadership and commitment of Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), as well as Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Michael Burgess (R-Texas), who spearheaded legislation in the Senate and House to reauthorize the GWEPs and GACAs.
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