State budget increases to the Medicaid rate is a critical component to provide facilities necessary funds to address nursing home understaffing and workforce challenges. Governor Wolf’s budget proposal for $91 million in Medicaid funding to be funneled into Pennsylvania nursing homes is “not enough” to meet industry needs, claims the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA).
While PHCA acknowledges the proposal as a step forward, the organization argued that the increase would not be sufficient for long-term sustainability. Citing inflation, ongoing COVID-19 expenses, and a critical workforce shortage, PHCA outlined the many challenges facing the industry. Staffing challenges have forced nursing homes to limit new admissions and caused bottlenecks for patients in hospitals attempting to access care. PCHA proposes that a $294.3 million investment would allow providers to increase their wage rates, recruit caregivers, and cover operating costs.
Leading Age PA, a trade association representing over 370 senior housing, health care, and community services across Pennsylvania, also contributed to the conversation. The association issued the following statement:
“While we appreciate that Gov. Wolf is proposing a $91.25 million increase in Medical Assistance nursing facility rates, it is disappointing that it is tied to the Administration’s misguided regulatory proposal to increase minimum staffing thresholds by 50%. These mandatory minimums are unattainable and ignore the current workforce challenges. Because this funding proposal is linked to staffing minimums, it does nothing to address historical and growing structural deficits caused by years of underfunding.”
Understaffing in nursing homes has plagued the industry for years. The New Jersey Nursing Home Injury lawyers have witnessed many cases in which residents were seriously injured due to neglect from nursing home understaffing. Recently, staffing shortages have impacted 99% of nursing homes, according to a 2021 poll by the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living. Nearly 60% of nursing homes characterized their staffing situation as “severe.” As a result, nearly 70% of nursing homes have resorted to using temporary agency staff. Use of temporary agency staff can impact quality of care for residents. Temporary staff often do not have knowledge or familiarity of the residents, and they are frequently unfamiliar with the policies and procedures of the facility. In turn, delivery of quality care is often diminished, and residents may be placed at higher risk for injuries, such as falls and pressure ulcers. The nursing home workforce challenges placing residents at risk for serious injury must be recognized and addressed as a budgetary priority.
Pennsylvania budget increases to the Medicaid rate are sorely needed to address nursing home understaffing and workforce challenges. SEIUHealthcare Pennsylvania, a union for health care workers, asserts that any investment in Medicaid rate be closely monitored to assure the funding is used to support nursing home residents. The organization states:
“It is imperative that this funding comes with accountability and transparency. Currently only 63% of Pennsylvania’s nursing home funding is actually spent on resident care. Our elected leaders must make sure public dollar investment into long term care goes directly to care and does not end up with CEOs or in corporate offices.
The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at the Wieand Law Firm, LLC are all too familiar with cases where nursing home residents suffered preventable injuries due to nursing home understaffing. If your loved one suffered a serious injury at a nursing home, reach out to our attorneys for a free consultation. We can discuss your situation and strategize the legal options at your disposal. Our attorneys won’t tolerate nursing home abuse and neglect and will advocate for your loved one like they are our own family. Call us at 215-666-7777 or send us a message to speak directly with an attorney.