The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, the nation’s largest provider of aged care and services, is sharing solutions with national elected officials in hopes of helping address the challenges of the long-term care workforce.
Four executive leaders of the Good Samaritan Society and representatives from three Society locations attended the 2023 American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) Congressional Briefing June 5-6 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC
The briefing provided an opportunity for Good Samaritan Society leaders to collaborate with industry peers, while also connecting with members of Congress and gaining insight into the latest policy developments.
Leadership who attended the briefing included:
- Nate Schema, president and chief executive officer
- Aimee Middleton, vice president of operations
- Wanda Harris, executive director of human resources
- Tom Syverson, director of government affairs
- Karena Cunningham, Certified Nursing Assistant and Good Samaritan Society Syracuse
- Shyann Walker, trustee of the Good Samaritan Society Syracuse
- Kiara Tuchscherer, senior living administrator at the Good Samaritan Society Fargo
During the congressional briefing, we had the unique opportunity to help lawmakers understand how they can best support Good Samaritan Society team members to deliver incredible care every day, Schema said. We also get to know their priorities so we can work better together in the future.
Staff affect access to aged care
As an integrated health system with Sanford Health, the largest rural health system in the country, the Good Samaritan Society has launched creative workforce solutions and made historic investments in its people since the start of the pandemic, which include starting pay ; bonuses; training and education; flexible scheduling options; benefits and support for well-being.
Despite these efforts, staffing problems persist.
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) is expected to release a proposed minimum staffing mandate for skilled nursing facilities this month. This week, Good Samaritan Society leaders discussed with lawmakers the unique challenges a staff mandate would present to the Good Samaritan Society.
I think first and foremost we want our policy makers to hear what it means to us in the upper Midwest, Schema said. We want them to understand that this is a simmering login issue. And frankly, I think it could explode if a proposed mandate isn’t put together in a very sensible way with all the right pieces.
A minimum staffing requirement enforced for all skilled nursing locations could mean the nation’s seniors, especially those in rural areas, would pay the price, Schema said. Approximately 70 percent of Good Samaritan Society long-term care residents live in rural communities.
We need continued global investment to ensure our most vulnerable residents have access to the care they need and deserve, no matter where they live, Schema said. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to advocate for our residents and team members.
Schema, along with AHCA/NCAL CEO Mark Parkinson and other industry representatives, also shared perspective on the current state of the long-term care industry at a press conference June 6 in Washington. The goal: To provide Congress with insight into how it can provide meaningful solutions to address the long-term care workforce crisis and protect access to care for older adults living in rural America.
It’s important that our elected officials are aware of how access to care might be affected by the decisions they make, Middleton said. We have a unique opportunity to tell that story. Part of integrating with the Sanford Health system is giving us the opportunity to also tell that from both sides of both the acute and post-acute side of healthcare.
Aged Care Leaders Respond to Congressional Briefing
Posted in Company News, Leadership in Healthcare, People and Culture, Rural Health, Senior Services
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