Rising costs of caring for vulnerable Nebraskans could be at odds with tax cut hopes | Politics

Among those not included in the temporary rate increases were state behavioral health providers, who told the Appropriations Committee about staffing shortages and rising costs that are reducing their ability to help injured people, at the same time as the pandemic has created an explosion of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, family conflict and trauma.

Jon Day, executive director of Blue Valley Behavioral Health, said his mostly rural agency had seen a 20% increase in the number of adults and children seeking services since the start of the pandemic, compared to increases 3% or 4% annual before COVID-19. .

“People are really hurting in ways we’ve never experienced before,” he said.

Nursing home representatives and child protection service providers painted much the same kind of picture.

In long-term care, reps spoke of nursing homes being forced to increase the starting pay for certified practical nurses to $20 or $22 an hour, up from $12.50 an hour, but still unable to fill all vacancies. They spoke of declining revenues as staffing shortages and the fallout from the pandemic translate into fewer residents.

Nathan Schema, president and CEO of the Good Samaritan Society, said his organization closed three Nebraska homes late in the year when financial trends could not be reconciled.

About Antoine L. Cassell

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