Empower Wisconsin | Feb. 20, 2020
MADISON — A new report finds caregiver position vacancies are rising at Wisconsin’s nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.
Gov. Tony Evers could have helped fix the problem. All he had to do was put down his veto pen.
Instead, the Democrat, beholden to his Big Labor friends, killed a bill that would have lowered nursing aide training requirements from the state’s stricter 120 hours to the 75 hours permitted under federal regulations.
“I appreciate Governor Evers’ desire to maintain high standards of training for health care personnel for the State of Wisconsin. However, I think he does not realize the implications of his recent veto of legislation to allow Certified Nursing Assistants trained in Iowa to work in Wisconsin facilities,” Sr. Kathleen Smith OP wrote said in a letter to state Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City), days before the Republican-led Assembly narrowly missed overturning Evers’ veto.
The report found that nearly 40 of the state’s approximately 350 nursing homes have closed since 2016.
The state’s 2019-21 budget allocates an additional $66.5 million for caregivers and a 6.4 percent rate increase for nursing homes. The increases help, but “our state’s crisis in the availability of caregivers is not going to be resolved in one budget,” John Vander Meer, CEO of the Wisconsin Health Care Association and Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living, told the Wisconsin State Journal.
The report calls for the Legislature to pass the training bill again and for Evers to sign it. It looks like the ship has sailed on that possibility this session.
Leave it to Evers to turn a real problem into a crisis — for political reasons.