Report: Central Texas nursing homes in midst of 'workforce crisis'

(File)

WACO, Texas (KWTX) A report released Tuesday by the Texas Health Care Association says nursing homes in Central Texas and across the state are scrambling to find nursing staff in the face of a 97 percent annual turnover rate for certified nurse aides and a 90 percent annual turnover rate for registered and licensed vocational nurses.

“The state’s low nursing home Medicaid reimbursement rate and heavy regulation are affecting the ability to retain nursing staff as they look for other opportunities out of the long term care business,” said Kevin Warren, president and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association.

“All too often, long term care providers in Waco, Temple, Killeen and the rest of Texas are scrambling to fill shifts instead of focusing on continuous improvement because they can’t compete in the labor market.”

The report, citing the U.S. Bureau of Health Workforce, says nursing homes in Central Texas will need another 7,459 nurses by 2030 to keep up with expected demand.

The report says 8,732 people are now working in nursing homes in Bell and McLennan and the surrounding counties.

“Central Texas’ strong economy is partly to blame for the nursing home workforce crisis, Warren said.

The jobless rate for the Killeen-Temple metro area was 4.1 percent in March.

The rate for the Waco metro area rose slightly from 3.7 percent in February to 3.8 percent in March.

The state’s Medicaid rate falls almost $10,000 short of the annual cost of caring for a Medicaid resident, the report says, and for a typical 100-bed facility, that translates to an annual shortfall of more than $650,000.

“This data simply supports what anyone involved in long term care already knows — staffing is the key to delivering the kind of long term care you would want for your own family,” Warren said.

“The more consistent and dedicated the staff is, the more they understand and are able to effectively respond to each individual’s care needs. Having the necessary resources to compete in a highly competitive workforce that is already in short supply is critical to meeting the needs of all individuals relying on the nursing home community in Texas.”