University of Minnesota study shows largest staffing shortages in nation

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(ABC 6 News) – A new University of Minnesota study shows that in 2022, Minnesota saw a larger nursing home staffing shortage than any other state in the nation.

The mission leader at Samaritan Bethany, Susan Knutson, tells ABC 6 News that if they were fully staffed they would have 440 employees. 

Right now, they have fewer than 200. Most of that staff left during the pandemic, but Knutson said had shortages even before then.

Knutson says that this means the home is still turning away seniors that need care because there is not enough staff to support them.

“We had to turn away people who we historically would’ve loved to have and be here to take care of. They’re staying in the hospital because we don’t have a bed for them,” she said.

The University of Minnesota’s recent study shows that despite college degrees and certifications, direct care workers make an average of 14 to 17 dollars an hour.

Over 40% of direct care workers are paid below 200% of the federal poverty line.

And around 40% have insurance through Medicaid, Medicare, or another public source, according to the study.

The study also provided some potential solutions to try and mitigate the issue. Researchers suggest changing federal policy that limits direct workers’ wages and supporting unionization.