Tuesday December 7, 1999
Friday's (12/3/99) Boston Globe reported that Maine nursing
homes are struggling to hire and retain quality staff because
of insufficient Medicaid reimbursement. In fact, this is a national
problem which will only get worse until nursing homes redouble
their efforts to embrace and promote private financing alternatives
such as long-term care insurance that pay nursing homes enough
money to attract and retain high quality staff.
In fact, low pay has created a veritable revolving door of employment in Maine nursing homes. "Hilton Power of Brunswick [Maine], a volunteer under the DHS ombudsman program who inspects nursing homes, said the industry has 'burned up workers like cordwood in a bad winter...using a forest of unskilled workers willing to work for peanuts in the most dangerous industry.''' Power said the industry's annual turnover rate of 80 percent would put firms in any other industry out of business.
Further, "Paula Valente, chief executive officer of the Maine Health Care Association, said 40 percent of the state's 120 homes are technically insolvent because Medicaid, which covers up to 75 percent of nursing home patients, reimburses at 1993 levels. 'This is not greedy nursing home owners putting the money in their pocket,' she said. Nursing homes 'are making every effort to face the staffing problem. But its a Catch-22 problem if you don't get reimbursed.'"