HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Long-term care facilities nationwide are facing a workforce shortage. It’s a problem made worse by the pandemic.
Long-term care facilities were often the epicenter of the pandemic and providers are asking for help from the state legislature to continue caring for residents.
Industry experts say long-term care facilities are in crisis.
“The most common phrases they use when discussing their workforce are fatigue, exhaustion, and burnout. And the pandemic has severely impacted their ability to recruit new workers,” Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Healthcare Association said.
From having to buy PPE to giving hazard pay to workers, getting through the pandemic hasn’t been cheap.
“We’re talking about a provider group that receives more than 70% of its reimbursement from the care provided from the state’s Medicaid program,” Shamberg said. “That’s also a program that has been flat-funded for almost 7 years.”
Shamberg says that’s a big reason it’s hard to keep up with other industries raising wages.
Country Meadows Retirement Communities is offering bonuses for current employees to refer friends.
“We also have raised rates and added shift differentials in several markets and we continue to offer very competitive benefits,” Meredith Mills, president and COO of Country Meadows Retirement Communities said.
Providers are looking for priority funding in the state budget, especially with money from the American Rescue Plan.
“Our ask to the Pennsylvania government is that you help to make us whole. We don’t want additional funding so that we can make more money,” Mills said. “We really do want to put it back in the pockets of our coworkers.”
Before the pandemic started, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry projected a shortage of more than 22,000 direct care workers through 2026.