Skilled nursing providers and hospitals are teaming up to oppose a legislative change they say would only exacerbate the healthcare industry’s staffing issues.
The American Hospital Association recently issued a letter to members of the House and Senate condemning an amendment included in the Department of Homeland Security’s appropriations bill. The proposal would limit the per-country cap for immigrant visas, and both associations say the result would be greater nurse staffing woes.
“LeadingAge shares the concern of the American Hospital Association that the proposed amendment, while well-intentioned, would make it more difficult for healthcare providers — including nursing homes, life plan communities and home care providers — to recruit nurses from other countries,” CEO Katie Smith Sloan said in a statement to McKnight’s. “Given the severe and growing nursing shortage, and the requirements for specific nursing levels in nursing homes, we oppose this reallocation of employment-based visas.”
In a news item, the AHA noted there is currently greater demand for nurses than there are students graduating from U.S. nursing programs, fueling the need to tap into other countries’ labor pools. Foreign-born RNs must meet rigid standards of equivalent education, English fluency and state licensure. Passing the amendment, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) would have a “crippling effect” on the provider community, the association said.
LeadingAge has advocated for foreign-born talent as a solution to skilled care’s staffing woes, and in August issued several reports on ways for the field to execute on this idea.