Nebraska Health Care Association: Don't Leave Seniors Behind
January 25, 2023
Contact: Lindsay Kant, Director of Membership
More than 20,000 people require care or support in one of Nebraska’s nearly 500 skilled nursing facilities or assisted living communities. Since 2015, 44 nursing homes and 35 assisted living facilities have closed in Nebraska, for a total loss of more than 3,000 beds. Eleven of those closures took place in 2022, and the majority of all closures were in rural communities.
According to Nebraska Health Care Association (NHCA), which represents 416 nonprofit and proprietary nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Nebraska, the access-to-care crisis is the result of a convergence of several issues: a history of inadequate reimbursement in comparison to the cost of providing care; unmanageable and burdensome regulations; inflationary costs of supplies, maintenance, and wages; and Nebraska’s consistently low unemployment rate.
“The scenario playing out in nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the state illustrates the need for state funding to ensure Nebraska’s seniors have access to care, especially in our rural communities, “said Jalene Carpenter, NHCA president and CEO. “When 60 percent of Nebraska’s long-term care facility residents rely on State funding to pay for their care, it’s an issue we must address today. We can’t leave our elders behind, and we must invest in these care settings.”
NHCA states that Nebraska’s long-term care workforce is down 11 percent from pre-pandemic staffing levels – a slower rebound than that of other sectors – and that the cost of implementing a federal minimum staffing requirement proposed by President Biden would put Nebraska’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities at even greater risk of closing.
“We’re trying to rebuild our workforce following the pandemic,” said Tyler Juilfs, LNHA, co-chair of NHCA and CEO of The Ambassador Group. “Nebraska’s long-term care facilities need help by reducing administrative burdens, adjusting Medicaid reimbursement to inflationary conditions, and letting caregivers focus on the important aspect of their job: taking care of Nebraskans who need these important healthcare services.”
Nebraska Health Care Association is the parent to Nebraska Nursing Facility Association (NNFA) and Nebraska Assisted Living Association (NALA), as well as Nebraska Health Care Learning Center and Nebraska Health Care Foundation. NNFA and NALA collectively represent approximately 416 nonprofit and proprietary skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities in Nebraska.