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Nursing home workers are being poached, and it’s creating a major problem for facilities across NYS

Nursing homes have a staffing problem.

That’s the word from Stephen Hanse. He’s the CEO of the NYS Health Facilities Association & NYS Center for Assisted Living. He represents around 450 facilities, and spoke with Spectrum News.

“Much to our disappointment, that data was not provided,” Hanse said. The data he was referring to was the individual facility data connected to COVID-19 patients.

Now though, a new challenge.

They are seriously short-staffed. That’s not necessarily a new problem, though.

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic we had staffing shortages in nursing homes and assisted living facilities,” he continued. “Now with the advent of COVID-19, we have staff becoming infected.”

“I was made aware this morning that there are … agencies that are contacting staff at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other staffing agencies and offering significant pay increases if they’ll leave those facilities and go work in other settings,” Hanse added.

Here’s what’s happening: Certain facilities – those in populated areas – are offering hazard pay. Those in rural communities around the state – are not. It’s a challenge, and one that Hanse said needs to be addressed.

Then there are the frontline workers who leave nursing facilities altogether, and head to hospitals or other facilities where COVID testing is taking place for the public-at-large.

It’s a challenge, which New York State could step in to address. But it’s unclear how they would act, even if faced with the opportunity.