AGS COO Educates Congress on Importance of Title VII and VIII Geriatrics Health Professions Programs
March 16th, 2012
Serving in her role as Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA) co-convener, Nancy Lundebjerg, AGS COO, visited with lawmakers on Wednesday, stressing the importance of Title VII and VIII geriatrics health professions funding. Along with EWA policy advisor Gail MacInnes, Lundebjerg met with nine Congressional offices from both sides of the aisle, in order to educate staff on the need to support and expand the number of faculty and educators who provide geriatrics training.
“Title VII Geriatrics Health Professions programs are the only federal programs that seek to increase the number of faculty with geriatrics expertise who can then train members of the multidisciplinary team,” said Lundebjerg. “These programs are the surest way for us to build a health care workforce that is competent to care for older adults, thus improving access to quality care for older adults.”
Asking for Congress to support the full amount of the President’s budget request, the Alliance further stressed the importance of additional investments, given the demographic shift facing this nation. “There are currently more than 6 million Americans who are over 85 years old. And this group, which makes up the highest rate of chronic illness, poverty, and need for assistance with activities of daily living will quadruple to 19 million by 2050. We must ensure the entire workforce is competent to care for those with complex illness if we are to meet the needs of our frailest elders,” noted Lundebjerg.
Within their appropriations requests, the Alliance pointed to recent, and much needed, investments in primary care, noting that a 2008 MedPAC report revealed that “physicians with a specialty designation of geriatric medicine receive an average of 65% of their fee schedule payments from primary care services.” The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in its budget justification, recognized the immediacy of the eldercare workforce crisis by identifying “enhancing geriatric/elder care training and expertise” as one of their top five priorities, identifying key programs such as: the Comprehensive Geriatric Education Program for nurses, Geriatric Education Centers, Geriatric Training for Physicians, Dentists, and Behavioral and Mental Health Professionals, and the Geriatric Academic Career Awards as critical to accomplishing this priority.
Modified On: March 16th, 2012