Formerly IGSW News | VOLUME 21 | SPRING 2014

From the Director

CADER awarded grant to plan training

How Affordable Care Goals Become Reality:
Mass. Healthcare Workforce Transformation Project

By Scott Miyake Geron

ScottThose of us in aging and disability know that a skilled supports and services workforce is crucial if the goals of the Affordable Care Act—better care for more people at lower cost—are to become a reality. We also know that success depends on how implementation of reform plays out at the state and local levels. Here is a look at one new state effort.

Massachusetts has demonstrated a strong commitment to workforce development with the recent announcement of nearly $2 million in Healthcare Workforce Transformation Fund planning grants to organizations across the state. The Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research at BU is one of the 51 grant recipients. CADER and other grant recipients will partner with healthcare agencies to improve workforce education and training by helping the organizations assess the skills of their workforce and the adequacy of current training programs and then develop plans to deliver any new training needed. This funding is the first round of a $20 million allocation meant to improve quality of care, lower costs, and prepare workers for the changing healthcare landscape.

The Commonwealth Care Alliance is CADER's partner agency. CCA uses an innovative enhanced primary-care model at sites in low-income communities throughout Massachusetts to serve clients eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. CCA's programs are based on skilled interdisciplinary teams, including nurse practitioners, social workers, and community health workers, that support primary care clinicians. CADER is working with CCA to develop a comprehensive training program for all interdisciplinary team members that will include CADER online courses as a key element.

Training is now a pressing issue for CCA. While CCA has long been a leader in providing managed long-term supports and services for older adults, the organization is now approved as a statewide Integrated Care Organization to serve a younger disabled population, including people with severe mental illness, in addition to their older adult clients. CCA will triple in size, hiring more than a thousand people this year alone.

How CCA develops the skills of their burgeoning workforce to meet this challenge is a local story with national implications. Our work with CCA and other organizations across the country keeps us at the cutting edge of these changes. We'll keep you posted.

Scott Miyake Geron, Ph.D., is director of the Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research and an associate professor at Boston University.

Boston University photo of Scott Miyake Geron

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Copyright © 2014 Trustees of Boston University. All rights reserved. This article may not be duplicated or distributed in any form without written permission from the publisher: Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research, Boston University School of Social Work, 264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215, U.S.A.; e-mail: