Senator Collins introduces bipartisan bill to increase number of geriatric health professionals
Yesterday, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Aging Committee, introduced the Geriatrics Workforce Improvement Act, bipartisan legislation to increase the number of geriatric health professionals and direct service workers to support our aging population. This bill would reauthorize the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) at $45 million per year over the next five years and also reinstate the Geriatrics Academic Career Awards program (GACA) at $6 million per year.“For Maine, with an aging population of more than a quarter million Mainers over the age of 65, and only 40 geriatricians, there is an acute need to quickly train more geriatric health professionals and direct service workers to meet the growing demand,” said Chairman Collins. “I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation that would ensure geriatric education for our current workforce, while optimizing resources to bolster academic careers in geriatrics, helping to attract the best and the brightest into the field. Together, GWEP and GACA would develop a high-quality geriatric workforce ready to provide care for Americans as we grow older.”
Currently, there are fewer than 7,300 physicians that are board-certified geriatricians. The United States needs to train 1,600 geriatricians per year over the next 12 years to reach the 30,000 geriatricians that will be needed by 2030. GWEP is the only federally funded program that exists to educate and train health care professionals in geriatrics. Today there are 44 GWEP programs in 29 states, which include 25 schools of medicine, 10 schools of nursing, five health care facilities, two schools of allied health, a school of social work, and a certified nurse assistant program. GWEP programs help integrate geriatrics into primary care, train providers to address the needs of older adults, deliver community-based programs, and provide Alzheimer's disease education.
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