LeadingAge town hall held at the Continuing Care Conference

Barbara Gay, Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for LeadingAge, participated in the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations annual Continuing Care conference on April 26. Gay was a session presenter and facilitated a town hall discussion to gather feedback on issues affecting nursing homes, home health providers, and other social services.

LeadingAge recently kicked off a series of town hall meetings as a way to obtain diverse input from those directly involved in post-acute care. At the South Dakota session, participants shared their concern about the inadequate level of Medicaid reimbursement for nursing homes and the pressure it continues to place on the financial viability of these facilities.

Workforce also remains a key focus as 2.5 million workers will be needed by 2030 to meet the demand for long term services and support. Several town hall participants shared their experiences with high turnover rates, and, with the increase in home health, competition for workers. The lack of geriatric focus in training and education for some health care providers continues to be an issue, although greater coordination with colleges has been attempted.

An additional challenge for workforce is in the area of potential language barriers. One facility representative shared the story of an excellent employee, who did not speak english and struggled to pass the Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) written exam since South Dakota does not offer them in other languages.

At the conclusion of the excellent discussion, representatives agreed that demand for services will continue to increase, yet uncertainties about reimbursement and the regulatory environment remain unpredictable. Gay shared they are working to find a better way to finance long term services and support and focusing on nursing home oversight reform.