Health care workers are expected to soon begin putting new limits on the cost of the equipment used to maintain floors at health care facilities.
The National Association of Home Health and Occupational Therapists (NAHOT) says it expects the cost to rise from $10,000 to $15,000 per floor.
The association’s executive director, Karen Lauer, said the rising costs could lead to health care workers dropping out of the workforce.
“There’s no way that the nursing home industry will survive without a significant increase in labor costs,” she said.
Lauer also said that nursing home facilities may have to reduce the number of beds that they use.
“The nursing home workforce is growing but so is the workforce,” she told CNN.
“So it’s a challenge for all workers.
There are so many challenges that have to be worked out to make the economy work, but the health care workforce is the one that’s really going to have to make a hard choice to go on strike.”
She said it could be a long haul for the industry.
“It’s really hard to make that call and not make it, because if you’re not in the workforce, your employer is not going to hire you, and that’s the only way to stay in business,” she added.
Nurses at nursing homes and hospitals are among those who have been told to consider staying at home and limiting the amount of time they spend at home.
The NAHOT said it was working with the industry to reduce costs for workers, and said it has reached out to many nursing home organizations to encourage them to adopt policies that would lower their costs.
Larger facilities with higher demand for labor and fewer workers may be forced to cut back on the amount they use, or even make workers work outside of the home.
Lauterbach said that if a health care facility has to make an adjustment to its staffing requirements, it should not be penalized for it.
“I think that the health providers are really going take a look at the industry that they work in and they’re going to take a hard look at their own operations and they’ll look at how they can better manage their staffing,” she explained.
“If they’re doing the right things in terms of providing good care and making sure that their patients have the right care, then I think that’s going to be a pretty hard pill to swallow for them.”
Lautherbach said she was surprised that many health care providers were unaware of the rising cost.
“They’re really going through a difficult time,” she observed.
The nursing home association is not alone in calling for a crackdown on costs. “
But they’re not doing a great job of understanding what’s going on.”
The nursing home association is not alone in calling for a crackdown on costs.
Other health care unions are also warning that the cost increase will negatively affect their members and employees.
According to the American Nurses Association, the number the union has reached a consensus with on the matter has doubled over the past two years, from just a handful of hospitals and nursing homes to over 1,000.
In its latest report, the union said it expects its members to see a rise in healthcare costs as a result of the Affordable Care Act.