Commentary: Faced with critical shortages, Va. is leading way on nursing home care
A smaller nursing workforce. It’s the elephant in the room — in Virginia and across the country. Because of myriad issues, including demographics, COVID-19, nurse-training programs that are too small, residents and patients who are sicker and have more complex needs than they did 20 years ago, and competition with other employers, the nursing workforce in our long-term care facilities is struggling. Nursing homes want to hire more nurses but cannot find them. These providers have also borne the burden of Medicaid underfunding, which has a direct effect on staffing since labor is the largest component of nursing home care.
As if those challenges weren’t daunting enough, nursing homes are now facing a proposed federal minimum-staffing mandate from the Biden administration. It does not make sense to saddle an industry that is crying out for help to attract and retain qualified caregivers with an arbitrary and potentially unfunded mandate that providers know they cannot meet for lack of qualified staff.