DPC has written to top Medicare officials asking that they develop policy options to address the current labor shortage. The letter notes that the lengthy rulemaking process used to update payments to healthcare providers is ill-suited to react to urgent changes in the labor market.

Fourteen years ago, the prestigious Institute of Medicine warned that as Americans aged, there would be fewer workers to take care of more elderly and disabled individuals. DPC’s letter urges officials to take another look at the report, which recommended “wage pass through” components of provider payments to address rising wages and delegating more responsibilities to workers without professional degrees. (DPC is not advocating for any specific policy option at this time, rather it is urging action from the Agency.)

The letter asks Medicare to ensure that healthcare workers are more generously compensated than workers in non-essential jobs, and to streamline the payment update process so it can quickly adapt to changing conditions. Read the entire comment letter here.