Retirement homes, serviced residences facing a shortage of work due to a pandemic

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – A report by the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living released Wednesday shows nursing homes and assisted living facilities facing a shortage of 221,000 jobs.

They say the industry’s employment level has fallen 14% since the start of the pandemic, resulting in the number of 221,000.

Linda Mowbray, of the Kansas Health Care Association, said Kansas faced these issues, but also faced them before the pandemic.

“It’s very hard work but at the same time it’s so rewarding. The people there make connections with the elders. They are there for the reason and it is not the salary. Nowadays, however, pay matters.

An AHCA / NCAL survey of long-term care providers earlier this year shows that 86% of nursing homes and 77% of assisted living service providers said their workforce situation had improved. degraded in recent months. 58% of retirement homes limit new admissions. 78% of nursing homes and 61% of assisted living communities fear workforce issues will force them to close.

“For a lot of people, they’ve just decided that instead of paying for child care for two or three children, it’s more profitable to stay at home. Especially when a lot of kids weren’t in school. We were hoping that when the kids returned to school it would bring back more workers, but for a lot of people it was a lifestyle change and it was a decision – they won’t come back and it’s not only our sector, ”she said. noted.

According to October employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics – hospitals, doctors’ offices, ambulatory care centers and other health care facilities met or exceeded staffing levels before the pandemic.

Another problem they face is Medicare and Medicaid, according to Mowbray.

“Our members, 70% of their cost is for payroll and primarily, not just in Kansas but across the United States, Medicare and Medicaid are the primary payers,” she said. “We, the taxpayers, are paying these rates and we’ve had a 20, 25, 30% gap between what it really costs to take care of someone and what we are reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid. “

Mowbray said a vaccination warrant could be a big factor. She said the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) is following Center for Medicare and Medicaid decisions on things like this, and that KDADS will provide guidance for Assisted Living and Home Plus facilities next week.

She said skilled nursing homes must have a plan for KDADS by December 5 and everyone must be fully immunized by early January. There is no fixed deadline yet.

She said she couldn’t even begin to guess what KDADS was going to say in its guidelines regarding mandatory vaccines or their testing options in the future.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the new federal vaccine mandate for healthcare facilities that participate in Medicaid and Medicare programs. He argues that the requirement will threaten to shut down many already understaffed facilities.

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