Earlier in the fall, VMRC’s Director of Nursing Rebecca Kline and Director of Assisted Living Kristin Trask reached out to elected officials to talk about a major challenge in our industry: the impact of our ongoing nursing shortage. A proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) made the need for this conversation more urgent than normal. A recently proposed CMS rule would push nursing staff level requirements beyond those at the state level for long-term care facilities—requirements our industry likely won’t be able to meet because of the nursing shortage.

Supported by Leading Age Virginia, the Commonwealth’s only association representing the full continuum of older adult services and supports, Rebecca and Kristin arranged tours and conversations with 26th District Delegate Tony Wilt, and candidates Ester Nizer (House of Delegates District 34) and Kathy Beery (Virginia Senate District 2). The visitors spoke with members of our nursing staff to learn about the challenges they face, what it will take to help more nurses advance their education and how regulatory guidelines set by different state agencies can result in fragmented care.

Rebecca and Kristin introduced possible ways to optimize nurse staffing and care management to serve more older adults. They believe funding is necessary to develop workforce solutions. They would also like to see legislative support for policy changes that create positive effects in the nursing workforce.
See local and national coverage of this issue, which includes comments from Rebeca and Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, the national association of nonprofit providers of aging services, including nursing homes. Listen here.