A coalition of Upstate New York hospital networks is calling for an increase in the Medicaid reimbursement rate to address a growing staffing shortage. The Iroquois Healthcare Association, which represents 54 hospitals, is requesting a 25% hike in the rate. A survey conducted by the group found an overall staffing vacancy rate of 14.7%, with nursing vacancies even higher at 18.3%.
In recent weeks, hospital organizations have urged a boost in funding to address the staffing shortage. Governor Kathy Hochul is set to unveil her budget proposal next Wednesday, and the Iroquois Healthcare Association is hoping for a significant rate increase for upstate and rural hospitals. Without it, the group says, “it is only a matter of time before their resources are completely drained.”
The pandemic has led to a sharp decline in healthcare workers in New York, as well as labor unrest at some hospitals. Governor Hochul has previously pushed for more health care training and an expansion of degree programs, as well as bonuses for healthcare workers. Her goal is to grow New York’s healthcare workforce by 20% within five years.
On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers in New York also called for a 20% increase in the Medicaid rate for adult care facilities that have also struggled in recent years. The Iroquois Healthcare Association argues that without a significant rate increase, “upstate residents will suffer when facilities and services continue to get dialed back or cut completely.”
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