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A Worker Shortage is Driving US Nursing Homes to the Brink of Collapse

More than 400 facilities are at risk of closing this year.

By Lauren Coleman-Lochner and Martin Z Braun | 19 May 2022

BLOOMBERG — Chippewa Manor’s beds could be full. The nursing and rehabilitation home is seeing plenty of demand from potential patients, after two nearby facilities recently closed. But there’s one problem: There’s no one to care for residents.

Staffing has always been a challenge, but “it’s reached a boiling point” in the last six months, said Jill Gengler, the president of the northwest Wisconsin facility. The home has struggled to find nurses, laundry, maintenance, housekeeping and food-service workers. Raising the wage for certified nursing assistants to $17 an hour from $12 has brought in some new staffers, but the pay rate is “not sustainable.”

As a result, Chippewa Manor is turning away other possible clients who might bolster revenue that would help fund higher pay.

It all spells disaster for US nursing homes, an industry that was under financial pressure even before the pandemic. Declining enrollment and higher labor and supply costs have forced 327 nursing homes to shut down since 2020, and more than 400, or about 3% of certified homes in the U.S., are at risk of closing this year, according to the American Health Care Association, an industry lobbying group. […]

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