Angie SzumlinskiNews, Studies

Staffing, a long-standing thorn in the side of skilled nursing operators even before the COVID-19 pandemic, has emerged as one of the most critical elements in how facilities manage an outbreak and navigate the current public health emergency.

This Skilled Nursing Article highlights that the percentage of CNAs who live below the poverty line in the U.S. far outstrips the proportion among the general population; 17% of CNAs are below the poverty line, compared with 9% of Americans said Sabra Health Care REIT (Nasdaq: SBRA) CEO Rick Matros. He went on to say there’s an opportunity for major reforms around how CNAs are compensated and treated within SNFs if stakeholders will act.

The finances of many operators have taken a beating over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and operating margins were hardly robust even last year before the coronavirus became the dominating force in the industry. One industry survey over the summer found that 40% of operators would cease operations in six months without more government aid, a situation related in part to increased labor costs. Staffing has emerged as a critical factor in how well facilities fare during COVID-19 outbreaks, is it time for us to set a standard in CNA compensation packages? When was the last time your organization did a wage survey with surrounding areas? What benefits are you offering your direct care staff who in the past 8 months have put their lives on the line every day? Remember, often it isn’t how much they are paid but also how they are treated. We all want to be respected and valued; we want to come to work knowing that if we didn’t show up we would be missed, the resident care would be affected and the resident’s quality of life could suffer. Something to consider, take a look at what is going on with your organization, you may be surprised! Talk to your staff, embrace their individuality and what they bring to your team. Stay well, stay safe, and stay tuned!