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AHCA, NCAL Send Letter to Federal Trade Commission on Staff Agency Price Gouging<p>​The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) sent a letter this week to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Lina Khan, requesting assistance with an anticompetitive practice with direct care staffing agencies.<br><br>In the letter, AHCA/NCAL President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Parkinson describes how the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred an unprecedented workforce crisis within the long term care sector.<br></p><p>According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing homes and residential-care facilities employed 3 million people in July, down 380,000 workers from February 2020. Providers are doing all that they can to hire and recruit workers, including sign-on bonuses, wage increases, and referral bonuses.<br><br>Amid these circumstances, direct care staffing agencies are charging exorbitant prices to long term care facilities that need workers. AHCA/NCAL state affiliates are undertaking legislative efforts to prevent these agencies from charging more than double and—in some cases—as much as quadruple the amount operators are currently paying their staff.<br></p><p>AHCA/NCAL requests that the FTC use its authority to investigate this price gouging and take appropriate action to protect long term care facilities.<br><br>Read the full letter <a href="/Breaking-News/Documents/AHCA_NCAL%20FTC%20Staff%20Agency%20Letter%2010.19.21.pdf">here</a>.<br></p>2021-10-21T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/letter_writing.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />WorkforceJoanne EricksonAgencies taking advantage of worker shortages by greatly overcharging facilities that need them.
Staffing Challenges in Long Term Care Facilities Continue to Threaten Resident Access to Care <p>The COVID-19 pandemic has put a tremendous strain on nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country, but one area that continues to worsen among facilities is the workforce crisis. Long term care facilities are experiencing growing staff vacancies as burned-out caregivers exit the profession.</p><p>A recent American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Survey-Nearly-Every-U-S--Nursing-Home-And-Assisted-Living-Community-Is-Facing-A-Workforce-Crisis.aspx">survey </a>found that 86 percent of nursing homes and 77 percent of assisted living providers say their workforce situation has gotten worse in just a few months.</p><p>Providers want to offer higher wages and better benefits to attract and retain employees but lack the necessary funds to do so. For years nursing homes have faced low Medicaid reimbursement rates that do not adequately cover the cost of care. These low rates, coupled with additional expenses from the pandemic, have left many facilities in financial turmoil. And now as staff challenges grow, providers are left without the means to hire new workers or keep their current ones.</p><p>Washington Newsday recently <a href="https&#58;//washingtonnewsday.com/news/according-to-us-data-nursing-homes-lost-almost-380k-jobs-during-the-pandemic/">reported </a>the dire labor shortages in long term care. According to data from the Bureau of Labor, nursing homes and residential care facilities have lost <a href="https&#58;//data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES6562300001?amp%253bdata_tool=XGtable&amp;output_view=data&amp;include_graphs=true">more than 425,000 employees </a>during the course of the pandemic.</p><p>Fewer caregivers are forcing many facilities to have to turn away new residents. The AHCA/NCAL survey also found that 58 percent of nursing homes have had to limit new admissions because of a lack of employees. A recent story in <a href="https&#58;//www.marketwatch.com/story/nursing-home-occupancy-dropped-significantly-in-the-wake-of-covid-19-11633551854">MarketWatch </a>highlighted the significant drop in nursing home occupancy during the pandemic. In just the span of a year, occupancy rates fell from 85 percent to 68 percent. Now, nursing homes are struggling to recover due, in part, to staffing shortages, as occupancy rates have only increased to 72 percent.</p><p>These alarming drops in employment signify the urgent need for Congress to step in. Lawmakers can address chronic staffing challenges through the reconciliation package currently in discussion. In addition, the <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx">Care for Our Seniors Act,</a> a comprehensive reform proposal developed by AHCA and LeadingAge, offers solutions such as assistance programs for caregivers through tax credits, loan forgiveness, and child care, as well as incentives for higher learning institutions to train the next generation of health care workers. </p><p>Long term care residents require around-the-clock clinical assistance. When they cannot access the nursing home or assisted living community they want due to staffing shortages, they are left scrambling to look for alternative options, often in facilities farther away from their families and community of choice. Lawmakers must recognize the severity of the workforce shortage and work together to invest in these necessary caregivers so no resident is left without the care they need. <br></p>2021-10-18T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/0120_News1.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />WorkforceJoanne EricksonGrowing employee vacancies exacerbate workforce crisis as staff exit the profession.
AHCA, NCAL Issue Statement in Support of the SKILLS Act<p>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) have released the following statement in support of the <a href="https&#58;//keller.house.gov/media/press-releases/congressman-fred-keller-introduces-legislation-connect-workforce-displaced">Strengthening Knowledge, Improving Learning, and Livelihoods (SKILLS) Act,</a> introduced by Congressman Fred Keller (R-Pa.). </p><p>The following statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL president and chief executive officer&#58;</p><p>“We thank Congressman Keller for introducing this important legislation. Today, nearly every nursing home and assisted living community is facing a workforce crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.</p><p>“A new <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Survey-Nearly-Every-U-S--Nursing-Home-And-Assisted-Living-Community-Is-Facing-A-Workforce-Crisis.aspx">survey </a>of our members found that 86 percent of nursing homes and 77 percent of assisted living providers say their workforce situation has gotten worse over the last three months. Providers nationwide are struggling to fill vacant roles, and a lack of qualified candidates is one of the biggest obstacles in hiring workers.</p><p>“The SKILLS Act will help create a pipeline of essential workers for the long term care sector. Strengthening our workforce is critical to providing quality care for the millions of seniors in our nursing homes and assisted living communities, but we need federal resources to accomplish this. </p><p>“We appreciate Congressman Keller making the long term care workforce a priority, and we look forward to working with him to help pass this bill.”​</p>2021-09-24T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/1120_news1.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />WorkforceJoanne EricksonA lack of qualified candidates is one of the biggest obstacles in hiring workers, association says.
Most Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Communities Face a Workforce Crisis<p>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) have released a survey of nursing home and assisted living providers across the United States. Results from the survey highlight an urgent need for Congress to address the labor shortage facing the long term care industry.&#160; </p><p>Key findings include&#58;</p><p>•&#160;Eighty-six percent of nursing homes and 77 percent of assisted living providers said their workforce situation has gotten worse over the past three months.</p><p>•&#160;Nearly every nursing home (99 percent) and assisted living facility (96 percent) in the United States is facing a staffing shortage. Fifty-nine percent of nursing homes and nearly one-third of assisted living providers are experiencing a high level of staffing shortages. </p><p>•&#160;More than 7 out of 10 nursing homes and assisted living communities said a lack of qualified candidates and unemployment benefits have been the biggest obstacles in hiring new staff. </p><p>•&#160;Due to these shortages, nearly every nursing home and assisted living community is asking staff to work overtime or extra shifts. Nearly 70 percent of nursing homes are having to hire expensive agency staff. Fifty-eight percent of nursing homes are limiting new admissions.</p><p>•&#160;Seventy-eight percent of nursing homes and 71 percent of assisted living facilities are concerned workforce challenges might force them to close. More than one-third of nursing homes are very concerned about having to shut down their facility(ies).</p><p>“The survey demonstrates the severe workforce challenges long term care providers are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Too many facilities are struggling to hire and retain staff that are needed to serve millions of vulnerable residents,” said Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL president and chief executive officer.</p><p>“Lawmakers across the country must prioritize long term care, and that begins with providing resources to address workforce challenges. When facilities have the means to offer competitive wages and training programs, workers will follow,” he said. “We have laid out key proposals in our <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx">Care for Our Seniors Act </a>that will allow us to boost our workforce, but without the help from Congress and state legislators, this will not be possible.”</p><p>Parkinson said the reconciliation package currently under construction is an appropriate vehicle for Congress to fund a long-term solution to address chronic staffing shortages in nursing homes and other long term care facilities. </p><p>“Congress has the opportunity right now, through budget reconciliation, to include meaningful investments in long term care, which will help address key staffing challenges,” he said.</p><p>“Our caregivers are the backbone of long term care, and they deserve the full support of our lawmakers. We cannot allow facilities to close because of these challenges, which will directly impact residents and their families, especially when lawmakers have the means to help solve this dire situation.”</p><p>Survey results can be found <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Workforce-Survey-September2021.pdf">HERE.</a></p>2021-09-22T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/0120_News1.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />WorkforceJoanne EricksonFifty-eight percent of nursing homes are limiting new admissions due to worker shortages.