Caregiver to State Policymakers: “Act Now, Before It Is Too Late” 

Since the start of 2022, 23 nursing homes across Iowa have closed or announced they are closing, including six already this year. This unprecedented wave of closures demands answers and demands action. 

This is why on February 16, on the eve of National Caregivers Day, in a briefing for state legislators, LeadingAge Iowa is released its first Statewide Situation Report, and called on its members to raise their voices and demand action from the Iowa Legislature.  

Access the Action Alert to urge legislative support for crucial Medicaid aging services funding now here.

“Today’s report puts hard numbers behind the hard truths that older Iowans and the professionals who care for them are facing today,” said Shannon Strickler, President and CEO of LeadingAge Iowa. “The time is now for Iowa to make the investments we need to ensure we can meet the needs of a rapidly aging population.” 

According to the report, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic:   

  • While Iowa’s overall workforce has grown around 2%, aging services’ has shrunk almost 12%. Today, there are more than 5,800 open direct care positions in the state, with aging services roles making up three of the top five most in-demand professions.  
  • Almost 5% of nursing facility beds have gone offline at a time when Iowa’s older population is rapidly growing.  
  • The average Iowa nursing facility is paying 85.3% more per resident day for agency nurse staffing. 
  • Costs are up 15% at the average facility, while revenues have grown by less than half that amount.  
  • The gap between the cost of care and what the state reimburses providers for Medicaid patients (over half of all nursing facility residents) is 3.5 times larger than in 2019, and stands at $50.19 per resident, per day.   

“Across Iowa’s aging services sector, workforces have shrunk, and costs have skyrocketed while reimbursement rates have stayed largely the same,” Strickler said. “At best, this leaves providers in the position of having to do more with less. At worst, it means older Iowans can’t access the care and support they need to safely get through their day.” 

In a Virtual Briefing with members of the Legislature on February 16, they called on elected officials to act to raise Medicaid reimbursement rates, reign in price gouging and restrictive labor practices from temporary staffing agencies, as well as invest in workforce development and workforce-friendly policies. 

“If providers are struggling,” Strickler said at the briefing, “imagine the fear and frustration of our older neighbors, family members and friends who are not able to care for themselves and rely on a caregiver everyday. It is our duty to stand up and say to the people with the power to do something: ‘Act now, before it is too late.’” 

You can read the full Situation Report and view the call to action video here. To access the Action Alert urging legislative support for aging services, click here