The Biden Administration announcement to require nursing home staff are vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition for providers to continue to receive Medicare and Medicaid funding

(Midland, TX) – Focused Post Acute Care Partners, a Texas based skilled nursing provider with 31 long term care communities in east and west Texas and down the Gulf Coast, has strongly encouraged our dedicated team members to be vaccinated. We have provided vaccination clinics at all of our long term care communities starting in December of 2020 and ongoing. Focused Care encourages our team members to educate and inform themselves with studies and reports on the COVID-19 vaccinations from credible, non-biased sources and we do not invalidate the choices of those that differ from our own.

The Biden Administration’s announcement requiring vaccinations against COVID-19 for all nursing home staff while well intentioned, will very possibly have a negative impact on the skilled nursing sector as a whole.  Singling out nursing home staff in the entire health care system as a method to protect seniors from contracting the virus could exacerbate an already dire workforce shortage within our profession. Withholding funding as a punitive measure on compliance is not conducive to our effort to increase vaccination rates among our staff.

Medicare and Medicaid are the twin pillars of federal and state funding that long term care providers depend on, as private health care insurance comprises less than 5% of residents’ insurance resources. The Medicaid rate in Texas has been woefully underfunded for decades and does not cover the actual cost of care for our seniors in skilled nursing care.  The pandemic set most providers’ financial stability in a precarious state and a further assault on resources allocated for senior care is far from helpful.

Mandating vaccinations for health care workers across the sectors, including in hospice, home health and assisted living is a policy that avoids further hamstringing long term care providers in need of dedicated and qualified nurses to care for our seniors.

We encourage the Biden administration to consider our position.