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Nursing homes in West Plains face staffing shortages

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 5:36 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 25, 2021 at 5:56 PM CDT
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WEST PLAINS, Mo. (KY3) - Employers across the nation are having a hard time finding workers. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are no exception.

In fact, according to a recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor, nursing homes are among some of the hardest hit.

Administrators at facilities in West Plains confirmed that they are experiencing problems filling staff openings.

“It’s a very hard job, very hard work,” said Jalynn Meidell, President and CEO of West Vue, Inc., which operates several facilities in West Plains. “It takes a certain person to do that, and that’s caused shortages in the past. Just because of the nature of the business, but this is different. I feel it’s directly related to not being able to provide a competitive wage.”

Meidell said most of their patients are on Medicaid. She said the amount MO HealthNet pays, which administers accounts for Medicaid patients, is $20 less than West Vue’s cost of housing them.

“We do get some “Medicare and private-pay patients who bring in some extra revenue,” said Meidell. “But right now we’re running in the red.”

Meidell said the state did raise the reimbursement rate for 2021 by $10.19. But the increase only goes to the end of the year, and it’s not enough to offset losses or enable West Vue to pay competitive wages.

“What we really need is for the state to reimburse facilities enough to offer competitive pay rates,” said Meidell.

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