Latina reported that Texas caregivers can make more money at a fast food joint than providing care and services to nursing home residents.

Advocates for Texas healthcare professionals who work in nursing homes or provide in-home care to the disabled visited the state capital to warn legislators about an impending staffing shortage due to low wages that are leading some to leave the field for better salaries at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s. 

They testified before state lawmakers in a House Appropriations subcommittee because Texas has the third-lowest Medicaid reimbursement rate in the country. Scott Kibbe, with the Texas Health Care Association, told the committee that low reimbursement rates make it difficult for nursing homes to offer competitive wages for staff that are the lifeblood of long-term care facilities.

“You know, you can start off at McDonald’s at $13-$14 an hour in some cases, you could certainly find easier jobs for more money and that’s a real problem when you’re trying to keep good people in your facilities,” Kibbe told the committee.

He also said that registered nurses in Texas nursing homes have a 94 percent annual turnover rate. With the aging baby boomer generation reaching 70, the number of healthcare workers to elderly patients in Texas is predicted to drop by half, he said.

Latina spoke with a registered nurse, who chose to be anonymous, in the Rio Grande Valley, and she said that nursing home jobs are tough to fill because licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), who get paid less than registered nurses, do the bulk of the work, and the job is tough. The two LVNs who work at her clinic come from the nursing home industry and one of them still works at one, meaning she has two jobs.

 

 

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