Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Skilled nursing and assisted living facilities across the country are having trouble hiring enough caregivers, and many have turned to perks like referral bonuses and transportation to lure more talent.

The big picture: The industry historically grappled with high employee turnover for its lower-skilled jobs. But now nursing facilities are facing reputational hits from the pandemic and a red hot market for minimum wage workers.

  • "We're not just competing with the restaurants and hotels for workers here," said Tina Sandri, CEO of Forest Hills, which offers assisted living and skilled nursing care in Washington D.C. The industry is fighting for hourly and nursing staff amongst each other and other hospitals giving out much more competitive pay right now, Sandri tells Axios.

Zoom out: As more than 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, BLS has projected the home health and personal care aide workforce to grow more than 20% by 2029, the highest in any industry.

By the numbers: The latest labor report shows that the health care sector lost about 2,400 nursing home and residential care jobs. It was a vast improvement from April which showed a drop of more than 19,000 jobs, but still down.

  • Some nursing home unions have been advocating for $15 hourly pay. 2020 BLS data show the median hourly wage for home health and personal care aides is $13.02. Median pay for nursing assistants is $14.82 an hour.

The state of play: Medical schools and nursing schools have seen a boost in applicants inspired by front-line "health care heroes," but that glow hasn't extended to hourly-wage jobs, Natalie Seehausen, senior executive director at Vista Prairie in Garnette Gardens, Minn. tells Axios.

  • "We tend to see the entry-level as still scary for people," she said, referring to the rampant spread of COVID in many nursing homes.

What's happening: Some nursing home managers pointed to the difficulty in advertising competitive wages, weighing their dependence on Medicaid reimbursement rates and how much clients can pay out of pocket. But the demand for workers has required them to increase compensation.

  • Forest Hills in D.C. and Vista Prarie in Minnesota are among those offering hiring bonuses. Forest Hills is also offering perks for picking up extra shifts and attendance streaks.
  • An Avamere Family of Companies in Oregon nursing home raised wages from $13.86 to $18 an hour in May, a move its union said would have never happened if the pandemic didn't expose workforce attrition. Union leaders are now advertising the jobs to win back workers who left during the pandemic for work they saw as less risky, such as retail.

Yes, but: The new perks for hiring are a short-term solution to reputation optics that worsened during the pandemic, Tara Sklar director of the Health Law & Policy Program at the University of Arizona, tells Axios.

  • "They can’t just expect to put out a vacancy sign and people are going to sign up," she said. "The whole country saw death for over a year in these facilities."
  • Several leaders of the facilities recognized the long-term challenges of retention are a tougher fix.

What to watch: The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living have been lobbying Congress for help to finance more long-term solutions like providing student loan forgiveness, developing assistance programs for affordable housing and childcare and providing scholarships for non-medical caregivers to help become registered nurses.

  • President Biden has proposed $400 billion to expand access to home care and has advocated for home-care worker unions and higher wages.

Go deeper

Sep 13, 2021 - Health

Democrats' competing health care priorities

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Democrats' reconciliation bill includes several major health care pieces backed by different lawmakers and advocates, setting up a precarious game of policy Jenga if the massive measure needs to be scaled back.

Between the lines: Health care may be a priority for Democrats. But that doesn't mean each member values every issue equally.

1 dead, 14 injured in shooting at Kroger grocery store near Memphis

One person was killed and 14 others were injured Thursday in a shooting at a Kroger grocery store in Collierville, Tenn., near Memphis, the town's spokesperson Jennifer Casey said, per CNN.

What they're saying: "I've been involved in [police work] for 34 years and I have never seen anything like [this]," Police Chief Dale Lane said at a press conference.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC panel recommends Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up

Photo: Marco Bello/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A key panel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shots for people 65 years old and older, as well as those at high risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: The approval is the near-final step in making the booster shots available to tens of millions of Americans, and comes a day after the FDA approved Pfizer boosters for the two groups. CDC director Rochelle Walensky is expected to announce her recommendation soon.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!