Home Health Care Agencies Face Nurse Shortage

An accomplished pharmaceutical executive with more than 20 years of industry experience, John Klein serves as the chairman of the Alpine, NJ-based Cambridge Therapeutics. In addition to his responsibilities at Cambridge Therapeutics, John Klein actively follows health-related news affecting NJ.

Home healthcare agencies in NJ recently warned of a future shortage of private duty nurses (PDNs) in the state. Pointing to lower-than-desired Medicaid reimbursement rates, agency representative said that they are experiencing difficulties recruiting qualified nurses for home-based services. PDNs provide around-the-clock care for medically complex patients in their homes, sometimes tending to individuals who are cognitively impaired or born with congenital defects.

Licensed as either a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse, PDNs are paid through Medicaid reimbursements, making it hard for them to earn as much as their hospital-based counterparts. More than a decade has passed since the last Medicaid-reimbursement increase.

According to an internal study by BAYADA Home Health Care, the home healthcare industry attracts only 17 percent of registered nurses and 40 percent of licensed practical nurses, leaving many patients without the nursing care they need.

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