I’m not saying there’s an easy solution here. There never is, but until admissions start coming in the door, maybe we can make changes that protect our long-term care facilities. Payors should at least cover the ongoing cost of now necessary equipment like PPE. This will immediately help to ease the new financial crisis by freeing up money for more hands-on staff and therefore improve care for their residents.
I am going to go out on a limb here, but what if we change how the system is managed and continue to find more ways to incentivize good outcomes instead of penalizing mistakes?
For example, payors finding ways to help stabilize nursing center’s financials by increasing the incentive for hospitals to discharge more patients back into the nursing healthcare centers for rehab services. Additionally, is it crazy to think that regulatory bodies like CMS could encourage our community’s nursing centers by providing them opportunities for training and guidance on better care when they discover concerns during surveys, instead of walking out the door with a list of citations and fines?
Payroll struggles due to quarantining, increases in overtime and use of agency nurses, has caused most of the financial burdens. Therefore, can CMS go about creatively relaxing staffing metrics, while we recover through this pandemic? Also, maybe part of the multi billions of dollars spent by our government to stabilize the economy can go towards these temporary nurse agencies if they will, in exchange, lower their rates for nursing homes?
Again, there is no silver bullet, but if we can make core fundamental changes like these, I believe we can save our industry and kick off a new way of thinking — positive reinforced outcomes, but as always, it will start with our industry leaders bonding together for a common goal. Then it will require state and federal leaders to step up, listen and be creative. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how we can come together for the greater good. Let’s think outside the box, support our nursing health care centers and save our seniors.