Before you object, take note. This is not a political “post”. Whenever there’s a change of Administration, it makes sense to look to the winning candidate’s platform and policy aspirations to predict how new leadership may impact things we care about. And I care about care for seniors. Home Healthcare News’s recent article entitled “‘Our Work Begins with Getting COVID Under Control’: What a Biden Administration Means for Home-Based Care” says that long-term care and protecting America’s senior population will need to be at the very center of President-Elect Biden’s response.
“Our work begins with getting COVID under control,” Biden said during his victory speech. “We cannot repair the economy, restore our vitality or relish life’s most precious moments — hugging a grandchild, birthdays, weddings, graduations, all the moments that matter most to us — until we get this virus under control.”
As the U.S. nears the mark of 18 million total coronavirus cases, the Biden administration’s response to the ongoing pandemic will need to be wide-ranging and thorough, impacting everything from vaccine development and distribution, to additional rounds of relief for health care providers.
“I will spare no effort — or commitment — to turn this pandemic around,” Biden continued.
The 78-year-old Biden has commented that he has a deep appreciation of home-based care. In July, he outlined a $775 billion plan to overhaul the nation’s caregiving infrastructure, which primarily consists of women and people of color. Biden said he wants to create upwards of three million new caregiving and education jobs over the 10 years and provide pathways for former caregivers to re-enter the workforce. That plan also called for a $450 million increase in funding for senior care. Some of those funds would be earmarked to improve wages and labor conditions for in-home care workers.
“Home health workers do God’s work, but aren’t paid much,” the then presidential candidate said on social media. “They have few benefits, and 40% are still on SNAP or Medicaid. It’s unacceptable. I’ll give caregivers and early childhood educators a much-needed raise.”
Biden has repeatedly brought attention to very specific, innovative programs that typically only industry insiders know about. This includes making specific references to CAPABLE, the program from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing aimed at supporting aging in place, by coordinating nursing, therapy and handyman services in the home.
Biden and his Administration will likely try to get more resources for home-based care providers and other long-term care operators. In its official policy plan for nursing home regulations, for instance, the Biden team stated it would invoke the Defense Production Act to increase the overall supply of PPE. Right now, “protecting older Americans” is one of the main priorities featured on the Biden-Harris Transition website, which hasn’t been overlooked by those in aging services.
“Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” President-Elect Biden said recently.
Regardless of how you voted, I hope you’ll join me in wishing the new team success in that fight.
Reference: Home Healthcare News (Nov. 9, 2020) “‘Our Work Begins with Getting COVID Under Control’: What a Biden Administration Means for Home-Based Care”