A panel of representatives of LeadingAge. Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of IL, ANA-Illinois, UIC Medicine Rockford’s National Center for Rural Health Professionals, Edward Hospital and the State of IL legislature met to explore these challenges truly exacerbated by Covid-19
Some of the key points discussed were burnout and exhaustion of clinical staff and the cost impact of replacement by supplemental staffing agencies. Staff resign and come back at significantly higher costs. Moving staff from the skilled nursing area to assisted Living has mitigated some of the exodus. Medicaid reimbursement also needs to be addressed to avoid delays in humans seeking behavioral health needs.
It was noted that IL will lose 9,000 nurses and the need for experienced teaching faculty to be obtained to teach.” We have the nurses but no faculty according to Monique Reed,VP ANA-Illinois.
Telehealth was addressed as being approved as emergency measure for reimbursement by Covid-19 but that it may not be extended and thus could impact access to care. In rural areas this has been a challenge due to lack of the internet. (A Build Back Better Biden legislative inclusion) Also Robots were discussed to support he is nursing staff in dispensing medications as well as serving food, freeing up the nursing staff. Advance practice nurses are also needed to meet the clinical demand.
Training of staff such as patient care technicians and hospitals training their own staff needs to be pursued and expansion of career ladders. Also, there is too much paperwork that is impacting patient care specifically in the Medicaid behavioral health service delivery system driving up costs.
Key takeaways-national Medicaid forum to address workforce needs, address health inequity by supporting community-based agencies to train entry level positions. Breakdown the silos and barriers in state agencies and fast track changes, possibly through a health czar
Lastly, address the hostility in how health care workers are being treated.” We went from being Hero’s to Zeros” according to Joe Dant, CEO Edward Hospital. We need collaboration.