Creating Pathways to Good-paying Jobs with the Free and Fair Choice to Join a Union
- Ensure Nurse Aide Training is Affordable. Lowering financial barriers to nurse aide training and certification will strengthen and diversify the nursing home workforce. CMSwill establish new requirements to ensure nurse aide trainees are notified about their potential entitlement to training reimbursement upon employment. CMS will further work with states to ensure reimbursement is being distributed and that free training opportunities are widely publicized.
- Support State Efforts to Improve Staffing and Workforce Sustainability. Strengthening the nursing home workforce requires adequate compensation as well as a realistic career ladder. CMS will develop a template to assist and encourage States requesting to tie Medicaid payments to clinical staff wages and benefits, including additional pay for experience and specialization.
- Launch National Nursing Career Pathways Campaign. CMS, in collaboration with the Department of Labor, will work with external entities—including training intermediaries, registered apprenticeship programs, labor-management training programs, and labor unions—to conduct a robust nationwide campaign to recruit, train, retain, and transition workers into long-term care careers, with pathways into health-care careers like registered and licensed nurses.
Ensuring Pandemic and Emergency Preparedness in Nursing Homes
- Continued COVID-19 testing in long-term care facilities. Throughout the pandemic, the Biden-Harris Administration has provided approximately 3 million tests per week to all Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes and thousands more assisted living facilities, supporting outbreak testing and regular testing of staff. HHS will continue to support this key mitigation strategy for vulnerable residents and the staff that care for them.
- Continued COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters in long-term care facilities. The Biden-Harris Administration has provided the full support of the federal government to states in ensuring that staff and residents across long-term care facilities have access to vaccinations and booster shots. Today, facilities are required to ensure staff are vaccinated and more than 87.1% of residents have received their primary series. CDC continues to offer all facilities the ability to be matched with a federal pharmacy partner to host an on-site vaccination clinic. CMS has reached out to thousands of these facilities directly to offer support, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has made a wide set of tools available. HHS will continue to promote access to these clinics and efforts to integrate vaccinations into routine services, incentivize vaccinations through provider quality payment programs, and continue to provide a full range of resources to continue to build confidence in the vaccine.
- Strengthen Requirements for On-site Infection Preventionists. CMS will clarify and increase the standards for nursing homes on the level of staffing facilities need for on-site infection prevention employees, undoing the Trump Administration’s changes to these requirements to help improve resident health and safety.
- Enhance Requirements for Pandemic and Emergency Preparedness. Both the pandemic and the increase in natural disasters have demonstrated how critical proactive emergency preparedness is to keeping residents of nursing homes safe. CMS is examining and considering changes to emergency preparedness requirements and is working to bolster the resiliency of the health care sector as part of an Administration-wide effort to be ready for the next pandemic and the next weather-related emergencies.
- Integrate Pandemic Lessons into Nursing Home Requirements. The pandemic has underscored the need for resident-centered updates to nursing homes’ requirements of participation in Medicare and Medicaid. CMS will integrate new lessons on standards of care into nursing home requirements around fire safety, infection control, and other areas, using an equity lens.