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Long-Term Care Commission to Address Workforce Issues

The American Tax Relief Act of 2012 that was signed into law by President Obamaon January 2 to prevent the "fiscal cliff" and avert major spending cuts includes a provision that mandates the establishment of a Commission on Long-Term Care.

The Commission is to be responsible for developing a plan for "establishing, implementing, and financing" a "comprehensive, coordinated, and high-quality system that ensures the availability of long-term services and supports" for elders and people with disabilities.

Language is included in the American Tax Relief Act that requires the Commission to address the following workforce issues in long-term care:

· Adequacy of the number of long-term care workers to meet the need

· Necessary development of the workforce in order to provide high-quality services

· Development of entities (i.e. public authorities) that can serve as employers and fiscal agents for home care workers

· Gaps in federal and state infrastructure that prevent the delivery of high-quality long-term services and supports

Under the American Tax Relief Act (pdf), several provisions of the Affordable Care Act were repealed, including the CLASS Act, which was intended to be a voluntary, federal long-term care insurance program.

Also under the CLASS Act, a Personal Care Attendants Workforce Advisory Panel was to have been established. That panel was to have similar workforce responsibilities as the new Commission, which Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is credited with helping to establish.

"PHI applauds Senator Rockefeller for his long-standing leadership on long-term care issues," said PHI Government Relations Director Carol Regan.

"The charge to the Commission recognizes the fact that any initiative to plan for long-term care must also include a parallel effort to ensure that our nation has a quality workforce of sufficient size and with the capacity to provide services and supports that consumers want and need," Regan said.

The Commission will be comprised of 15 members. The President, Senate majority and minority leaders, Speaker of the House, and House minority leader are each responsible for appointing three members within 30 days of the signing of the Act.

-- by Deane Beebe


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