Evans, Estes Introduce Bipartisan Nursing Home Workforce Quality Act to Address Critical Shortage of Certified Nursing Assistants

September 25, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON (Sept. 25, 2019) – Congressmen Dwight Evans (PA-03) and Ron Estes (R-Kansas) introduced bipartisan legislation this week to address a critical shortage of certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Evans and Estes serve together on the influential House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees much of the U.S. health care system.

Their Nursing Home Workforce Quality Act (H.R. 4468) would allow nursing homes that have been forced to suspend in-house CNA education programs after receiving a certain level of penalties to resume those programs once quality standards are met.

Evans said, “This common-sense legislation would help nursing homes to fix problems that are identified, which would be a win for everyone affected -- the patients, their families and the nursing homes. It’s important to work across party lines on points of agreement so we can make progress for the people we represent.”

Estes said, “The Nursing Home Workforce Quality Act will help address critical shortages of CNAs, especially in rural areas, by allowing nursing homes to resume CNA education programs faster. This bipartisan legislation ensures nursing homes continue to meet high standards without losing staffing levels that are needed for quality care.”

In-house CNA education at nursing homes is often free to the CNA candidate, allowing students to avoid the burden of paying for an education program at a local community college or school which may or may not exist in their geographic area. This helps meet the need for CNAs while allowing nursing homes to build their own pipelines of skilled nursing staff.

Under current law, nursing homes that receive a threshold number of penalties for deficiencies in quality have a two-year mandatory suspension placed on in-house CNA certification programs. In 2017 alone, 277 skilled nursing facilities had a suspension of their training program due to this statutory mandate, and nearly 2,900 were unable to start such a program in 2017 due to this requirement. This penalty can be imposed for a single deficiency that may not have included harm to a resident or an episode that does not reflect systemic problems.

The Nursing Home Workforce Quality Act would allow suspensions on in-house CNA education to be rescinded once deficiencies are assessed and found to be remedied, while allowing for additional oversight of facilities not exceeding the original two years.

Evans represents the 3rd Congressional District, which includes Northwest and West Philadelphia and parts of North, South, Southwest and Center City Philadelphia.