More workers coming to SNFs thanks to $40 billion in COVID care funding

Louisville's Largest Long-term Care Facilities

Source: McKnight’s
By: Banelle Brown

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A federal investment of more than $40 billion to strengthen and expand the workforce includes money to hire more workers for skilled nursing, assisted living and other healthcare facilities.

White House officials Wednesday highlighted how states, local governments and organizations have invested $40 billion in American Rescue Plan funds specifically for the workforce.

An initiative by Family Scholar House in Kentucky was included among the investments highlighted by federal officials. The program plans to use the relief funding to hire 200 part-time AmeriCorps members to provide healthcare support and services to seniors and disabled individuals in healthcare facilities across Kentucky.

The hope is that the AmeriCorps members will in the process develop healthcare knowledge and complete credentialing coursework, “enabling them to work in memory care, skilled nursing, assisted living, and other healthcare-related environments.”

Kentucky Senior Living Association Executive Director Bob White told McKnight’s that the program will help “fill those gaps” at communities short on personnel due to the pandemic.

“Programs such as the AmeriCorps, and others sponsored by the Department of Labor, allow us an important source of help for students /apprentices to get started in careers by providing additional funds and services to help students and others who do not yet have work experience with help to obtain needed certifications,” added Nazareth Home CEO Mary Haynes.

Workforce has been an ongoing struggle for the long-term care industry, despite showing recent signs of hope. Federal data shows that employees at SNFs increased by 5,400 jobs between March and May. That comes after SNF jobs dropped by 238,500, or 15%, from March 2020 to March 2022.

Of the $40 billion in investments, more than $16 billion will be spent on the care and healthcare workforce – with $9 billion for home- and community-based services and $7 billion to support staffing needs of public health workers.

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