State News

2020 report declares long-term care workforce crisis

In a survey of 924 long-term care providers, many organizations show the need for long-term care is growing due to an increasing older population and decreasing applicants for caregiving positions.

In a survey of 924 long-term care providers, many organizations show the need for long-term care is growing due to an increasing older population and decreasing applicants for caregiving positions.

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Wisconsin is facing a deficit in caregiver positions after a new report revealed 1 in 4 positions in the state’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities are currently open. 

A recently released report said there are 20,655 vacant caregiver positions across the state. This number has increased when a 2018 report revealed 1 in 5 positions were vacant.

The same report found filling positions has been more difficult because wages are simultaneously becoming less competitive due to Wisconsin’s Medicaid nursing home reimbursement plan.

A 2016 report release provided by the Wisconsin Health Care Association, Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living and LeadingAge Wisconsin said “Wisconsin has the worst Medicaid reimbursement system for skilled nursing facilities in the nation.”

This stagnation of wages has caused approximately 9,700 long-term caregivers to leave positions for jobs outside of the healthcare system in the past year alone.

The shortage of caregivers makes it “increasingly difficult for individuals to receive timely access to long-term care services and supports [sic],” John Sauer, president and CEO of LeadingAge Wisconsin, said in a Feb. 17 release.  

This problem of lack of care becomes exacerbated by the fact the age 85+ population in Wisconsin is projected to increase 112 percent in the next 20 years.

To ensure there are enough caregivers, the Wisconsin Legislature and Gov. Tony Evers approved the 2019-’21 Biennial Budget to continue the Direct Care Workforce Initiative and increase the Medicaid Fee for Service rate, which the report called a “step in the right direction.”

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