workforce shortages, staffing shortages, dialysis machine

As a patient with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), or kidney failure, I know how health care workforce shortages can affect patients. I have been on dialysis for 7 years. At the clinic where I receive dialysis – the life-saving treatment which replaces my kidney function – any staff shortage can mean the difference between a smooth treatment and chaos.

America is facing a historic health care workforce crisis. Staffing challenges and high demand have led to gaps in care like longer emergency room wait times.

Unfortunately, Medicare is failing to address inadequate staffing and care. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) increased the reimbursement rate for health care providers far below the rate of inflation in recent years, making it harder to attract a skilled health care workforce.

Medicare reimbursements should keep pace with inflation. But over the past few years, reimbursements earmarked for workers has fallen far short of what’s necessary. Now, providers cannot hire workers, maintain equipment, and provide quality care.

Our leaders in Washington need to step up. I call on CMS to reform their reimbursement structure and provide more robust payments to providers in-need.

Shawn Manley, Detroit, Michigan