Following President Joe Biden’s announcement that nursing home workers will be required to get vaccinated, some fear it will cause staff to leave the already understaffed industry. According to the state's vaccine dashboard, only about half of Indiana’s long-term care workers are currently vaccinated.
Biden’s plan targeting nursing home staff threatens to remove federal Medicare and Medicaid funding for non-compliance. There are still no details about when it would take effect. Health care groups in Indiana fear nursing home workers will leave to other health care settings where vaccinations are not required.
Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on COVID-19 and other statewide issues.
Kathleen Unroe researches geriatrics at the Regenstrief Institute. She said the policy may also be too narrowly focused. Patients in nursing homes frequently come in contact with outside medical workers who aren’t required to get vaccines.
“Without a more universal mandate, we will lose more staff than we would otherwise, which creates other critical patient care issues,” she said.
Some Indiana long-term care facilities still have staff vaccination rates as low as 13 percent.