HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHP) – With nearly 700 nursing homes in the state, new data from the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) reveals more than 2,000 Pennsylvanians are stuck on waiting lists to get care.
“Providers are still limiting admissions due to lack of staff,” said PHCA President and CEO Zach Shamberg. “We can’t be in a position where our population is aging but at the same time long-term care providers are being forced to shutter their doors.”
A quarter of nursing homes polled have up to 40% of their beds left open because of staffing limitations.
“We are finding it more and more challenging to find the staff and actually get them at a rate that Medicaid can fund,” Transitions Healthcare CEO Matt Maurano told CBS 21 News’ Samantha York.
At Transitions Healthcare, almost all of its residents come from hospitals.
“If we can’t take them, they end up staying in the hospital for a long amount of time which, in turn, costs the state more money,” Maurano explained.
Nursing home providers are required to meet new state staffing minimums starting in July, leading them to sound the alarm.
“The state needs to fund those ratios or we’re not going to survive,” Maurano said.
Food costs are up 10%. Maintenance is 15% higher in price. However, labor costs trump all.
“We’ve seen caregiver rates go up 20-30% in the last two years,” Maurano added. “And that’s a great thing, those people are very deserving of that increase, but we need to fund it.”
In last year’s state budget, Medicaid reimbursement rates were increased for the first time since 2014. Days ahead of Gov. Shapiro’s first state budget address, providers say they can’t wait another eight years for support at the state level. They’re calling for legislators to take action by allocating funds to support the fastest growing demographic in the commonwealth.
“We are not going to be able to keep pace with those rising costs and we’re not going to be able to compete in the labor market,” Shamberg continued.
The new Medicaid reimbursement rates from last year’s state budget went into effect Jan. 1, 2023. Based on PHCA’s survey, facilities are putting that money toward staff in the form of wages, benefits, recruitment and retention.
This story first appeared on CBS21.