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Sinema Talks About Need For Long Term Care Workforce At U.S. Senate Aging Committee

On Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema appeared before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging.  Sinema talked about a plan by the state’s Medicaid provider to develop a long term care workforce.

One of the biggest challenges facing our aging nation is a long term care workforce shortage. Sinema talked about an initiative led by AHCCCS, the state’s Medicaid provider, to develop that workforce, especially in rural communities.

"Working with technical high schools, community colleges and nursing programs, this initiative will develop training courses that help students quickly earn a license or certification and enter the home care work force," she said.

Sinema asked William Dombi, president of the National Association for Home Care & Respite, if such a plan could be implemented on a national scale. He said while some elements could, he touched on another challenge facing this workforce.

"Compensation is absolutely one of them. Figuratively, I think the state Medicaid programs combined, make up the largest employer, figurative employer, of the low wage workers across the country," he said.

And it’s not just wages, Dombi said. It’s about career opportunities, flexibility in federal wage and hour laws, and respect. 

Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.