Nursing homes across the state are closing wings and refusing patients due to staffing shortages

Nursing homes across the state are closing wings and refusing patients due to staffing shortages
Published: Feb. 23, 2022 at 4:31 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAP NEWS/WCJB) - Nursing home patients are required by state law to receive 3.5 hours of direct care each day. Two and a half of those hours are to be from a certified nursing assistant, another hour by a registered nurse.

“We are in the midst of a staffing crisis,” says Steve Bahmer, the CEO of Leading Age FL nursing homes.

But most are having trouble meeting the staffing requirement because they can’t hire enough people.

“We have members who have taken two hundred of their seven hundred beds offline because they simply can’t staff them today.” Bahmer told lawmakers.

The homes want to reduce a nursing assistant’s time by a half-hour each day while counting hours already being spent on a patient by specialists but not now counted.

SEIU 1199, the union that represents CNA’s was out in force against the bill. Christina Chiger is a Tampa based Certified Nursing Assistant

“You want to cut our hours once again. You want to add more patients. How can I take care of twenty patients properly in an eight hour time?”

The legislation was approved by the House Health and Human Services Committee

“15 yeas, 5 nays.”

A Senate committee was also scheduled to vote on the legislation today, but it was postponed, suggesting that trouble could lie ahead.”

Kristen Knapp of the FL Health Care Association tells us that they are offering bonuses and higher pay, but with no luck.

“This bill does not change the total direct care hours that a resident will receive each day” says Knapp.

But Roxy Nelson from SEIU says the answer is lower profits and paying more.

“If they really want to attract workers, the worst thing they can do is make working conditions worse” says Nelson.

The House bill is now ready for a vote by the full House. The Senate version will be back up next week unless whatever kinks exist, aren’t worked out.

The legislation calls the change a modernization of what is considered direct care staffing. The industry says the modernization will allow homes to treat each resident as an individual with attention to their special needs.

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