The bi-partisan Nursing Home Workforce Quality Act, HR 1265, offers a fix to a penalty that has vexed nursing homes for decades. When a nursing home gets a fine over $10,000, regardless of the reason, the home automatically by law loses its ability to train staff to be certified by the state as Certified Nursing Assistants (Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation Program, or NATCEP). The loss stays in place for two years, regardless of how quickly the home fixes the problem and is back in compliance.

LeadingAge strongly supports HR 1265, which would amend the law to give CMS the discretion to “disapprove” a NATCEP, rather than mandate the loss of the program. And, most importantly, the bill reinstates the training program when the nursing home has corrected the deficiencies in quality of care for which the civil money penalty was assessed.

CNA training programs are essential to the ability to recruit new staff and train them to be certified. The automatic loss of training ability can be devastating to a nursing home. Your stories about the importance of NATCEP and direct care staff are critical to helping your representative and senators understand the human dimension, the impact on their district and state.

We are really pleased with how much support this bill is gaining among members of Congress. Sean Duffy (R-WI) is the sponsor; Colin Peterson (D-MN) and Greg Gianforte (R-MT) are original co-sponsors. Also co-sponsoring, to date, are Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Jim Banks (R-IN), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Steve Watkins (R-KS), Liz Cheney (R-WY), Lance Gooden (R-TX), Pete Stauber (R-MN), Tom Cole (R-OK), Kevin Hern (R-OK), and Adrian Smith (R-NE).

Your visits at Leadership Summit and the 1000 letters you have written to the House and Senate absolutely make a difference and of course LeadingAge staff regularly meets with Congressional offices and their key staff. But if we want this bill to be upfront and center when Congress considers health care legislation, we need your member of Congress to be a co-sponsor -- your continued advocacy is essential.

Please WRITE, RIGHT NOW! Go to our “Make Your Voice Heard” webpage and send your letters now, it’s easy and vital.