Another front page New York Times story highlighting problems with skilled nursing facilities.
I am sure many of you saw the recent New York Times article about understaffing in the nation’s nursing facilities, particularly on the weekends. The new methodology used, based on actual payrolls obtained by Medicare, indicates that staffing is 12% lower than using the previous methodology, which was based on self-reporting.
The article used one small nursing facility in New York as an example of weekend staff shortages. Anecdotally, my next-door neighbor’s mother was in a local assisted living community operated by a prominent national chain, and she always complained about the “Sunday dump run,” referring to the fact that when her mother was taken to the ER, or dumped there, it was always on a Sunday. Never on Monday. Sundays were the hardest days to staff the community, and it didn’t take rocket science to figure out what was going on.
While I understand the difficulties in staffing, especially in a period of historically low unemployment, if the skilled nursing industry wants to be part of the solution, it has to come up with a better response than, “While staffing is important, what really matters is what the overall outcomes are.” The problem is, there is a direct relationship between staffing and outcomes. Now? Congressional investigations. Great.