The U.S. Capitol building

The Nursing Home Workforce Support and Expansion Act, introduced in the House of Representatives Tuesday, would help skilled nursing providers recruit and retain caregivers by helping to strengthen wages and benefits, according to one long-term care industry association.

The bill is sponsored by Democratic Reps. Steven Horsford (NV), Barbara Lee (CA), Steve Cohen (TN) and Jamaal Bowman (NY), and is included as part of the Elder Justice Reauthorization and Modernization Act of 2021, which was previously  introduced in the House Ways and Committee.

The legislation would “invest in long-term care workers — who are overwhelmingly women of color — to help nursing homes retain their vital skills while expanding the workforce by attracting new and diverse talent,” Horsford said in a press release

The bill would provide direct appropriations for grants to states so they could offer wage subsidies, student loan repayment or tuition assistance, guaranteed affordable and accessible childcare for employees and transportation assistance to those who are eligible. The funds also would be able to be used to establish a reserve fund for financial assistance, among other things.

“Direct care workers are the heart of aging services, and the COVID pandemic has underscored the need to invest in this essential workforce,” LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan said in a press release. “The Nursing Home Workforce Support and Expansion Act will help long-term care providers recruit and retain much-needed care professionals, leading to better care for millions of older Americans.”