New Survey Reveals Government Staffing Mandates Threaten Pennsylvania’s Long-Term Care System

nursing home© MartinPrescott from Getty Images Signature / Canva

PENNSYLVANIA — A recent survey conducted among LeadingAge PA member nursing homes has revealed that the ongoing caregiver worker shortage continues to worsen. This crisis comes amidst increasing staffing mandates from state and federal governments, causing many nonprofit and mission-driven communities to decline residents in desperate need of long-term care.

Since the implementation of new state staffing standards on July 1, nearly 60% of surveyed facilities reported an inability to fill shifts, even with the assistance of staffing agencies. Consequently, if the proposed federal staffing regulations are approved, approximately 63% will have to further decrease the number of available beds. Alarmingly, close to 16% may have to contemplate shutting down their facility or selling to a for-profit organization. In some cases, facilities have already taken up to 60% of their beds offline.

This alarming trend echoes a similar survey conducted in March, despite nursing homes offering pay raises for staff and increased starting salaries for new hires. From March to October, the number of facilities reporting census limitations due to worker shortages rose from 34% to over 50%.

LeadingAge PA President and CEO, Garry Pezzano, voiced his concerns about the impending crisis. He stated, “The proposed federal staffing mandate is well-intended, but as these survey results show, it will have the opposite effect of improving care in Pennsylvania.” Pezzano stressed the dire consequences of insufficient funding and the lack of qualified workers, warning that the best nursing homes across the state will be forced to reduce their available beds. He added, “The ultimate outcome will be stranded families who have a loved one in desperate need of skilled care.”

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The survey’s findings underscore the urgent need for policy changes that address the caregiver shortage and consider the real-world implications of staffing mandates on Pennsylvania’s long-term care system. Without immediate action, the state’s most vulnerable populations and their families face an increasingly uncertain future.

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