Creating a Special License for Long-Term-Care Providers with Supportive Workplaces

Field of Work: Direct-care workers—nursing assistants, home health aides, and personal care attendants in North Carolina.

Problem Synopsis: Like many other states with a graying population, North Carolina faced a looming shortage in its long-term-care workforce. When Better Jobs Better Care was launched, about 70 percent of the state’s long-term-care workforce was choosing to leave jobs each year.

Synopsis of the Work: From 2003 to 2009, the North Carolina Foundation for Advanced Health Programs worked with a team of stakeholders and consumers to create a voluntary, special state license designed to promote the recruitment and retention of direct-care workers. The coalition also created a website and a set of documents to help long-term care providers in North Carolina and other states apply for the special license. Ten long-time partners were part of the initial Better Jobs Better Care coalition led by the North Carolina Foundation for Advanced Health Programs.

Key Findings/Results

  • Over the project period, the North Carolina Foundation and its partners:

    • Created the North Carolina New Organizational Vision Award (NC NOVA). The voluntary, special state license is awarded to long-term care providers who meet a set of criteria.
    • Recruited some 60 providers to participate as pilot sites for the licensure process.
    • Developed a website with a set of resources to help North Carolina providers apply for the special license. The team also produced a guide to help other states “jump start” the special licensure process at a lower cost.