VOICES: Let’s rebuild our healthcare workforce – unfunded staffing mandates won’t work
“First Who, Then What” is a concept developed in Jim Collins’ book Good to Great. The book examines what separates great organizations from others. One of the primary concepts is that great organizations first focus on attracting the right people and assuring they have enough of these right people before they figure out exactly what these people will be doing to serve the mission. When facing chaos and uncertainty, the Great company’s best strategy is to have a busload of people (“enough people”) who can grow and adapt to the needs of the industry.
This concept resonates in today’s discussion about nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities. More nursing facilities could achieve this desired outcome, having enough the right people, if facilities were reimbursed accordingly to cover the cost of care. Along with the necessary financial resources, we need collaboration on a federal, state and local levels on developing innovative solutions to counteract the most troubling truth: Our nation has a healthcare workforce shortage.
Unfortunately, the Biden Administration and the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a rule in early September that they indicate will solve a “quality issue” in nursing facilities, but is blind to the fact that there is a shortage of caregivers. Their proposal is a one-size fits all staffing mandate for nursing facilities. This will create more regulations to punish all nursing homes, and does not take into consideration that a majority of these facilities are doing the right thing and the best they can.