This story is from the Investigative Reporting Workshop in collaboration with Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join Eye on Ohio’s free mailing list or follow IRW on Facebook as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Ohio nursing homes reported more shortages of nursing assistants than any other state during the pandemic, highlighting a problem that has been festering for decades.
An Eye on Ohio and Investigative Reporting Workshop analysis of weekly reported data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that Ohio reported the the highest number of shortages in the country for State Tested Nursing Assistants (STNA) in 2020 and through the first half of 2021, leaving critical care positions open and shifting work to other positions suffering shortages of their own.
Ohio has the third highest number of nursing homes behind Texas and California, and tallied STNA shortages in 26% of reports to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS). That makes Ohio the 14th worst nationwide for the percentage of nursing homes reporting too few STNAs that same year. “We just have probably the worst shortage that we've had at least in my 35 years of doing this,” said Robert Applebaum, director of the Ohio Long-Term Care Research Project at Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center. “The industry was in trouble before COVID, and COVID has pretty much put those problems on steroids at this point.”
The continuing shortage of nursing assistants, registered nurses and other staff in nursing homes has become a national issue. A June survey from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, which represents more than 14,000 U.S. nursing homes and long term care facilities, found that 94% of nursing homes reported a shortage of staff in the last month. Almost three-quarters of nursing homes said their workforce situation had worsened since 2020. Quantifying shortages can be difficult because there’s no minimum staffing ratios for STNAs on the federal or Ohio state level. But staffing challenges in Ohio’s 950 nursing homes were a troublesome issue before nursing homes and other long-term care facilities accounted for almost 40% of Ohio’s 20,500 COVID-19 deaths, according to interviews with experts, advocates and nursing home administrators.
With Ohio having the 17th oldest population in the country, the need for elder care — and the workers who provide it — will only grow in the coming years. “By not raising the wages, by not having better staffing ratios in place, you didn't create an optimal work environment,” said Monica Moran, a former organizer and lobbyist for nursing home workers with Service Employees International Union.
This story is from the Investigative Reporting Workshop in collaboration with Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join Eye on Ohio’s free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. As Ohio grapples with the highest number of State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNAs) shortages in the country and decades-long issues of pay and work conditions, legislation over nursing homes has become a lucrative battleground both nationally and in the state.
The industry’s primary trade group representing two-thirds of nursing homes has spent more than $30 million on lobbying to Congress since 2010. The state affiliate, Ohio Health Care Association (OHCA), and its related entities have contributed millions of dollars in recent years to political groups that have supported various campaigns, including Gov. Mike DeWine’s.
Unlike other states, Ohio legislators — not the state’s department of Medicaid — determine the funding formula for nursing homes.
The company’s revelations about Ohio’s largest corruption case raise questions about the integrity of the regulatory process and its piecemeal approach to reviewing utility spending. This story is from the Energy News Network in collaboration with Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join Eye on Ohio’s free mailing list or the mailing list for the Energy News Network as this helps us provide more public service reporting. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio should conduct a big-picture, in-depth review of FirstEnergy’s spending and governance in light of the company’s admissions last month about former PUCO Chair Sam Randazzo, critics say.
Officials say approvals will be ‘later this summer’; reaching a customer service rep still an exhaustive process
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list as this helps them provide more public service reporting. Maggie Rose applied for pandemic unemployment assistance in April 2020 after the restaurant she was working in shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was quickly approved.
Then a couple weeks ago, she received an email from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family services telling her to pay the balance owed on her account.
Rose was overpaid $12,000 – something she said was extremely scary “for someone who’s just gone through a move, hasn’t gotten a job yet, I’m using the little bit of money I have left to bring my car here.”
Rose recently moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and because she can’t afford to pay back the balance, she appealed.
In April, nearly 1 in 5 PUA recipients got an anxiety-inducing letter in the mail: the state requesting money back.
The order comes as newly released documents point to a larger role on legislative matters for the former utilities commission chair. This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network.