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LeadingAge NY Highlights Challenges Facing Rural Providers at Assembly Hearing

LeadingAge NY urged immediate action to address the growing workforce and reimbursement challenges confronting rural providers of long-term/post-acute care (LTPAC) and senior services in testimony presented to the Assembly Health Committee on May 31st. At a public hearing convened by the Committee to address rural health care challenges, LeadingAge NY described the demographic trends driving workforce shortages statewide – a rapidly rising population of older adults and a shrinking population of working age adults. Our testimony also focused on the inadequacy of reimbursement to support rising wage and benefit costs. Both issues – workforce shortages and rate inadequacy – are magnified and more difficult to address in rural areas.

We proposed a variety of strategies to build the LTPAC workforce and improve the financial position of rural providers while expanding access to services for older adults in rural communities. These include, among others:

  • Providing rural rate enhancements under Medicaid for home care agencies, assisted living programs, and nursing homes;
  • Authorizing the employment of Advanced CNAs/Medication Technicians in nursing homes;
  • Expanding the role of the nurse in adult care facilities;
  • Facilitating cross-certification of aides, streamlining in-service training for home health aides, and expanding the availability of competency evaluations in lieu of training programs;
  • Utilizing nursing home civil monetary penalty funds for CNA training and recruitment;
  • Investing in resident assistant services in affordable senior housing buildings; and
  • Promoting access to telehealth, safety, and socialization technologies in rural communities.

Several LeadingAge NY members also testified at the hearing, including Andrew Cruikshank, CEO of Fort Hudson Health System; Terrence Gorman, CEO of St. Luke Health Services; Nasar Khan, CEO of Groton Community Health Care Center; and David Lovelace, Administrator of The Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation at Hoosick Falls.

Our testimony is available here, and a recording of the hearing can be accessed here and here.

Contact: Karen Lipson, klipson@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8838