The Times-Standard reported the staffing crisis at five of Rockport Healthcare Services’s six skilled nursing homes.  A lack of available health care workers to adequately staff may lead to fewer beds or even possible facility closures if solutions are not found in the near future, according to the facilities’ administration company.  Should this occur, patients could be turned away and will have to travel outside of the county or even the state to find skilled nursing care.

The facilities have collectively lost nearly $5 million in the past 18 months due to it having to hire temporary, more costly traveling caregivers to fill vacant positions.  The five nursing homes — the Eureka, Granada, Pacific, and Seaview rehabilitation and wellness centers in Eureka as well as the Fortuna Rehabilitation and Wellness Center — currently have 70 positions vacant, which are having to be filled by temporary employees that come at a greater cost, according to Rockport.

Rockport also cited wage pressure and unsatisfactory reimbursements it receives from the state for treating MediCal patients as reasons for the financial loss.  I wonder how much money Rockport is siphoning form the facilities?  How much is the management fee?

Suzi Fregeau, a long-term care ombudsman and program manager for the Area 1 Agency on Aging in Eureka, described the staffing issue as a “crisis.”