A national survey indicated 36.1 percent of long-term care facilities in Kansas were experiencing staffing shortages that worsened since 2020. The state ranked fourth worst in terms of the staffing shortfalls. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector) TOPEKA — Kansas’ shortage of nurses, aides and other personnel required to operate long-term care facilities substantially increased since 2020 to rank fourth among the most problematic states in the nation, a survey says.
The report produced by Seniorly, a company that helps families and older adults find a senior living facility, indicated 36.1 percent of Kansas nursing homes and assisted-living centers had a labor shortage. That was an increase of 17 percentage points from 2020 to 2022.
The state with the largest staffing obstacle was Minnesota, with 41.4 percent of facilities reporting shortages. That was followed by Washington at 37.9 percent, Maine at 37.7 percent, and Kansas. The four states surrounding Kansas had fewer job vacancies and facilities facing staff challenges ranged from 22.2 percent in Missouri to 29.1 percent in Colorado.
“This isn’t a new problem,” said Dan Goodman, executive director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care. “Nursing homes were inadequately staffed long before COVID began but the pandemic worsened the situation. Continuing this practice should be a cause for alarm for all Kansans.”
Goodman said the budget bill adopted by the Kansas Legislature and signed by Gov. Laura Kelly provided an additional $65 million in reimbursement payments to long-term care facilities.
“Families and residents should expect to see facilities invest in staff recruitment, retention and training,” he said. “Residents and their families should not have to continue to pay a high price for continued poor performance, inadequate staffing and failing service providers.”
In the Seniorly report, which included information on staffing from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, half of Kansas’ long-term care facilities had a shortage of nurses and 53 percent indicated they had trouble hiring aides.
Nationally, one in four long-term care facilities reported shortages in nursing staff in 2022, an increase from 16 percent in 2020.
The most substantial shortages were among registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and vocational nurses as well as certified nursing assistants, nurse aides, medication aides and medication technicians. Less common are shortages in clinical staff, such as physicians, physician assistants and advanced practice nurses.
This article was used by permission from the Kansas Reflector. The Kansas Reflector is a non-profit online news organization serving Kansas. For more information on the organization, go to its website at www.kansasreflector.com.