Senate Bill Seeks to Encourage Care for Elderly

By Anderson, Jane | Clinical Psychiatry News, May 2008 | Go to article overview

Senate Bill Seeks to Encourage Care for Elderly


Anderson, Jane, Clinical Psychiatry News


Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has introduced legislation aimed at addressing the potential crisis in providing care for elderly Americans.

The bill, introduced in March, seeks to offer a combination of educational-loan forgiveness and career-advancement opportunities for health care professionals choosing practice in nursing homes.

The Caring for an Aging America Act, S. 2708, would have the federal government provide $130 million over 5 years to benefit physicians, physician assistants, advance practice nurses, psychologists, and social workers choosing geriatrics and gerontology.

Aid would come primarily through educational loan repayments for these professionals. The bill already has been endorsed by the American Geriatrics Society, the National Council on Aging, the National Association of Geriatric Education, the Alzheimer's Association, and the National Association of Social Workers.

The American Medical Directors Association (AMDA), which represents nursing facility practitioners, has approved the bill's concepts in principle. "I think overall, this really is a big step forward," said Dr. Paul Katz, AMDA vice president and chief of geriatrics atthe University of Rochester, N.Y.

To benefit from the loan repayment provisions, health care professionals would not only need to complete specialty training in geriatrics or gerontology butalso agree to provide full-time clinical practice and service to older adults for a minimum of 2 years.

In addition, the bill would expand eligibility for the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program to include registered nurses who complete specialty training and provide nursing services to older adults in long-term care settings.

The proposed law also would expand mid career specialty training in long-term care services through an existing training-grant program. …

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