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Long Term Care Association seeks $42.1 million because of increased expenses, staff shortages

The president of the North Dakota Long Term Care Association said most, if not all, facilities in North Dakota are short-staffed.

Shelly Peterson said the Association recently surveyed its members about staffing.

"Seventy-nine percent ranked it (staffing) as 'concerning, to a crisis,'" Peterson said. "One out of five — 21 percent — said they're in a full-blown crisis, with numerous open shifts, and few qualified applicants, or no applicants at all."

Peterson said as a result, existing staff have been asked to work longer hours, and facilities are contracting for workers from temp agencies. She said the facilities are spending millions of dollars on temporary staff.

"Our staff are tired," Peterson said. "We can't close the deli at 4 o'clock — we have to operate 24-7, and residents need care."

Peterson said the group will ask the Legislature during the upcoming special session for $42.1 million. She said the money is for lost revenues because of occupancy declines, and increased expenses, as well as staff.

"Our expenses are blowing the roof," Peterson said. "When you look at what we're paying for staff overtime and extra time, and agency staff, and then all the protective equipment that we continue to use today, we're struggling."

Peterson said she plans to take the request to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, which will meet ahead of the November special session. Those meetings start next week.