November 15, 2021
Contact: Eric Heisler,
Cell: 717-678-1031

PHCA supports legislation to end staffing agency price gouging, protect long-term care residents and providers

Harrisburg, PA (Nov. 15, 2021) — The Pennsylvania Health Care Association has issued the following statement in response to a co-sponsorship memo introduced by Rep. Tim Bonner (R-Mercer/Butler), proposing legislation that will protect long-term care residents and providers, including nursing homes, personal care homes and assisted living communities, from price gouging by direct care staffing agencies. The following statement can be attributed to Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have heard stories of price gouging — opportunistic inflation — on essential items and resources.

“For long-term care providers, there is no resource more essential than the frontline workers providing care to tens of thousands of Pennsylvania seniors. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has depleted that resource, leaving providers — and residents — in a vulnerable situation.

“Amid the greatest workforce shortage in our history, long-term care providers have remained committed to providing care for their residents, but it has come at a cost. Providers are now being forced to halt or restrict new admissions due to lack of staff — a proactive approach to focus on the care of current residents — leaving patients in need of care without a place to go. To fill the void of open positions, providers have become reliant on staffing agencies to supplement facilities with temporary workers who can cover shifts to meet state staffing requirements.

“Those staffing agencies, however, are now recruiting our frontline caregivers and leasing them back to providers with outlandish wage markups. They’re charging two, three or four times the average amount for a CNA, LPN and RN. And most importantly, they are disrupting the continuity of care for our vulnerable residents.

“There is a place in the long-term care continuum for direct care staffing agencies, but their service should not come at the expense of jeopardizing care for the residents they are hired to serve. Price gouging is simply not sustainable for providers, especially those reliant on the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rate, which hasn’t kept pace with rising healthcare costs since 2014. As providers attempt to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and make resident-focused investments, these exorbitant costs are pushing nursing homes, personal care homes and assisted living communities to the brink of financial collapse.

“This proposed legislation is critical to ending the harmful practice of gouging long-term care providers, residents and Pennsylvania taxpayers by establishing maximum rates on agency health care personnel. By managing these rates, Pennsylvania will join states like Massachusetts and Minnesota in stabilizing the viability of long-term care, both today and into the future.

“On behalf of long-term care providers and residents throughout the commonwealth, we look forward to working with the General Assembly and Governor Tom Wolf to advance this legislation as soon as possible.”

In a recent PHCA member survey, 70% of the respondents revealed they have been relying on staffing agencies to help fill shifts


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