Closeup of Hispanic nurse rubbing her forehead, looking tired/stressed

Short-staffed long-term care providers are struggling to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks at their facilities and comply with a federal requirement to report COVID vaccination data. 

“This reporting each week is being done by staff who are desperately needed to be providing care for residents. This is a real challenge,” Jodi Eyigor, LeadingAge’s director of nursing home quality and policy, told Bloomberg.

“They just keep getting hit with more and more requirements, and now there’s this added layer of complexity and confusion,” she added. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services first announced the vaccine reporting requirement in May. The rule mandates nursing homes to submit resident and staff vaccination rates to federal officials or face civil monetary penalties. The data is also publicly posted on the agency’s COVID-19 Nursing Home Data website.

In Pennsylvania, state leaders recently commended the federal requirement saying it has helped reduce the need for additional state oversight on the matter.

However, the added time commitment that comes with it is negatively impacting providers who’ve taken on additional care burdens due to staffing shortages, according to the Bloomberg report. 

“It’s requiring the people that you do have to do even more work on a smaller resources budget. People are stretched really thin,” Eyigor said. 

Providers have struggled with technical issues, and some told LeadingAge they had been citing despite screen captures that show their information had been submitted. Eyigor added that providers want to comply with the federal reporting rule while still offering good care but the burden is a lot to deal with. 

“They are trying so hard and yet you can’t squeeze blood from a stone,” she added.