Report: Kansas’ shortage of long-term care facility staff fourth worst in nation


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TOPEKA — Kansas’ shortage of nurses, aides and other personnel required to operate long-term care facilities substantially increased since 2020 to rank fourth among the most problematic states in the nation, a survey says.

The report produced by Seniorly, a company that helps families and older adults find a senior living facility, indicated 36.1% of Kansas nursing homes and assisted-living centers had a labor shortage. That was an increase of 17 percentage points from 2020 to 2022.

The state with the largest staffing obstacle was Minnesota, with 41.4% of facilities reporting shortages. That was followed by Washington at 37.9%, Maine at 37.7%, and Kansas. The four states surrounding Kansas had fewer job vacancies and facilities facing staff challenges ranged from 22.2% in Missouri to 29.1% in Colorado.

“This isn’t a new problem,” said Dan Goodman, executive director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care. “Nursing homes were inadequately staffed long before COVID began but the pandemic worsened the situation. Continuing this practice should be a cause for alarm  for all Kansans.”

Goodman said the budget bill adopted by the Kansas Legislature and signed by Gov. Laura Kelly provided an additional $65 million in reimbursement payments to long-term care facilities.

“Families and residents should expect to see facilities invest in staff  recruitment, retention and training,” he said. “Residents and their families should not have to continue to pay a high price for continued poor performance, inadequate staffing and failing service providers.”

In the Seniorly report, which included information on staffing from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, half of Kansas’ long-term care facilities had a shortage of nurses and 53% indicated they had trouble hiring aides.

Nationally, one in four long-term care facilities reported shortages in nursing staff in 2022, an increase from 16 percent in 2020.

The most substantial shortages were among registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and vocational nurses as well as certified nursing assistants, nurse aides, medication aides and medication technicians. Less common are shortages in clinical staff, such as physicians, physician assistants and advanced practice nurses.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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