The article below is a top story from this week's ACTION newsletter—Care Providers of Minnesota's weekly newsletter for members. The newsletter focuses on current legislative issues, regulations, long-term care trends, and other Association news. Each Thursday evening, it is delivered to your inbox. To sign up for ACTION, contact Lisa Foss Olson (952-851-2483). To learn more about membership, visit our Become a Member page.

 


Grassroots call to action on crisis workforce messaging

Patti Cullen, CAE
By Patti Cullen, CAE  |  October 15, 2021  |  All members


As noted in the article regarding media coverage, last week we had a flurry of meetings on our workforce crisis and potential immediate and near-term solutions. A few of the legislators said they have already heard from constituents on current staffing needs, anticipated needs once the federal vaccine mandate is released, or the concerns with rate setting based on state agency interpretations of how federal support should be spent and accounted for. Those meetings are so helpful to our messaging, so we want you to either keep up the cadence you already have or reach out now to the legislators representing your communities to personalize the message for them. The core messages are as follows: 
  • We estimate that there are now 23,000 open positions in senior care across the state, representing 20% of Minnesota’s caregiving workforce—that’s up from an estimated 8,000 openings in the spring of this year
    • Personalize: Note how many open positions you currently have, and any data about how long some positions have been opened
  • Conditions are getting worse as in the month of August alone in Minnesota there were 2,000 more staff leave than we could hire or 1.5 times more resignations than new hires—the situation is unsustainable and it’s only getting worse; settings throughout the state are on the brink of closure and caregivers are exhausted and leaving the field faster than we can replace them
    • Personalize: Are you experiencing more staff leaving that you can replace? 
  • 70% of nursing facilities are reporting that they are limiting census due to low staffing—we have a moral obligation to be able to serve those in our care, so we have had to say no to hospital discharge planners and families in the community because we don’t have enough staff to provide care to them
    • Personalize: Have you changed any of your admissions practices because of staffing?  

What are we asking legislators to do for us?
  • We are asking for immediate access to "strike teams" to provide respite relief to our exhausted staff and also asking leaders to consider our proposal to include appropriate funding in the special session to permanently enhance caregiver wages to bolster retention and recruitment efforts
    • We remain hopeful that American Rescue Plan money can be a bridge to this solution and state law be changed to allow us to keep these funds built into our rates
    • Longer term, there needs to be a multi-agency investment in training, regulatory relief, and funding to ensure this profession is sustainable in the long run
  • We know that we cannot solve this workforce crisis alone (personalize: All of the steps you have taken to date on staff recruitment and retention)
    • The state plays a major role in funding senior care, and we need your help to provide upfront funding for immediate, permanent wage increases to support recruitment and retention efforts and to activate strike teams to help provide relief to exhausted caregiving teams
    • We need to change current reimbursement law to allow us to be able to build into our rates permanent increases in wages and benefit to make long-term care a valued profession where our staff can make a livable wage working in our communities

To find out who represents your community, go here. If you know who your legislator is but need contact information, go here for House members and here for senators. 




Patti Cullen, CAE  |  President/CEO  |   pcullen@careproviders.org  |  952-851-2487




 



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Care Providers of Minnesota is a non-profit membership association with the mission to Empower Members to Performance Excellence. Our 900+ members across Minnesota represent non-profit and for-profit organizations providing services along the full spectrum of post-acute care and long-term services and support. We are the state affiliate for the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, and with our national partners we provide solutions for quality care.


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