Nursing shortage won't be solved with mandates
June 27. 2016 11:16PM
To the Editor: Susan Nolan’s June 17 column was disappointing.
Ms. Nolan advocates requiring more nursing home caregivers at a time when facilities are struggling to find, and retain, care giving staff, largely because of inadequate state Medicaid reimbursement. This workforce crunch was recognized by the Legislature in a bill Gov. Maggie Hassan recently signed into law.
No one could disagree with Ms. Nolan’s observation that nursing home caregivers work hard. And they’re doing an excellent job. From 2010 to 2014, according to the latest report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, New Hampshire saw the nation’s biggest increase (216 percent) in nursing home surveys resulting in a finding of no health deficiencies whatsoever. And while that perfection is hard to achieve, in 2014 New Hampshire also had the nation’s second-fewest health deficiencies on surveys.
Facilities would love to hire more caregivers. But they don’t control Medicaid reimbursement for caregiver wages. All New Hampshire Medicaid providers, whether non-profit or proprietary, face the same funding challenges. Perhaps instead of criticizing those trying to make do with less, Ms. Nolan can advocate for fairer Medicaid reimbursement.