CNA sitting on stairs with head in her hands.
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Minnesota’s nursing homes reported the largest workforce shortages in the country, according to an analysis of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services data conducted by Seniorly.

The analysis found that approximately 41% of skilled nursing facilities in the North Star state have experienced staffing shortages this year, up more than 18% since 2020. On the other end of the spectrum, only about 2% of such facilities in California have reported a shortage of qualified employees so far in 2022.

“We wanted to understand the nature of staffing shortages at long-term care facilities across the country, so we did a deep dive into data published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on staffing shortages at LTC centers amid the ongoing pandemic and continued ups and downs of the job market,” Seniorly Chief Strategy Officer Stephen Anderson wrote on the company’s website.

Seniorly analyzed a multi-year dataset published by CMS between May 2020 and February 2022. Among the key findings:

  • During the first week that data were collected, in May 2020, only 11% of nursing homes reported that they had a workforce shortage; that figure rose to approximately 22% by January 2022.
  • An average of about one-fourth of nursing homes have reported shortages in nursing staff so far in 2022, an increase from 16% in 2020.
  • The largest shortages consistently appeared among nursing workers (including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and vocational nurses) and aides (including certified nursing assistants, nurse aides, medication aides and medication technicians). Since 2020, an average of approximately 20% of all SNFs have reported shortages of these types of workers.
  • Shortages of clinical staff, such as physicians, physician assistants and advanced practice nurses, were much less common than shortages of nurses and aides.
  • Shortages of other staff and personnel, such as environmental services employees, has almost quadrupled since 2020.

“Generally, most states have had periods of intense staffing shortages at long-term care facilities, both overall and for specific jobs, and 2022 is shaping up to be rough in many places across the country when it comes to finding qualified workers at nursing homes and assisted living communities,” Anderson wrote.

The 10 states hardest hit by staffing shortages in the four categories (nurses, aides, clinical staff and other staff) examined in the Seniorly analysis: 

  • Minnesota, 41.4%
  • Washington, 37.9%
  • Maine, 37.7%
  • Kansas, 36.1%
  • Wyoming, 35%
  • Alaska, 33.3%
  • New Hampshire, 33%
  • Wisconsin, 32.9%
  • Iowa, 32.6%
  • North Dakota, 29.7%

The 10 states reporting the lowest levels of staffing shortages:

  • California, 2.1%
  • Connecticut, 3.8%
  • Massachusetts, 5.8%
  • New Jersey, 6%
  • Texas, 6.6%
  • Arkansas, 7.2%
  • West Virginia, 8.6%
  • Indiana, 11.4%
  • Florida, 11.7%
  • Kentucky, 11.9%

A late 2021 survey by the Long-Term Care Imperative — a collaboration of LeadingAge Minnesota, which is the state partner of the national LeadingAge association and also of Argentum, and Care Providers of Minnesota, which is the state affiliate of the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living — found that 23,000 positions in skilled nursing and assisted living remained unfilled.

For more information on the Seniorly analysis, visit Seniorly’s website.