CNA Careers: Will Medicaid Cuts Affect Job Openings?

Healthcare careers seem to be under the gun, and CNA careers are no exception.   After all,  many of the seniors and disabled residents who need certified nursing assistants rely on government aid like Medicare and Medicaid.   And bromides aside, it seems like real cuts are coming to both of these areas.

Congress is talking about real cuts as part of cutting down the deficit. This is because the trio of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security represent a significant portion of federal costs.   Ideas for how to shift this have ranged from cutting cost of living increases in line with inflation to private voucher-based systems.   When recent graduates consider CNA careers, they should also consider the trickle down effect.

That is the fact that many federal aid packages for healthcare are tied to how much a state is willing to pay.   For example, a $300 million aid grant from the federal government may require the state to kick in $150 million.   If that doesn’t occur, the entire $450 million total is lost.   Think of this when reading that states like Arizona are cutting aid for nursing home care, and concurrently the available funds for graduates of CNA training programs.

So it’s not surprising that elder awareness organizations are being joined by healthcare professionals in protesting the cuts.   It’s more than political ammunition for both of these groups; quality healthcare does cost money, and it’s not clear how these cuts will affect the ability of those on fixed incomes to afford care. It’s a serious issue, and could lead to a generation of difficulty for baby boomers who may not have strong retirement investments.

At the same time, however, the rising senior population should strengthen the job market.  There is the economy, and there are the simple numbers.   A year or two back, census takers figured that the senior population in the U.S. would double, at least, by 2030.   So,  there will be a rapid growth in terms of job openings for that reason.

The other good news is that certified nursing assistants benefit from little backlash in terms of salaries. Other healthcare professionals may see wage reductions, but CNA careers offer more bang for the buck for employers because of the higher value for the wage.  So while the outlook may seem somewhat grim, certified nursing assistants may find quite the silver lining.

Job Security is One of the Best in the Industry

One of the great things about training to be and then gaining your certification as a certified nurse assistant is that you will always have employment. It is a rare area that has no need of nurse aides! The number of the elderly in need of assistant in the United States is growing, along with the number of people with disabilities. This provides an almost endless array of job opportunities as a CNA.

If you have been contemplating a career as a nurse assistant, you may think that working in a nursing home is your only option. This is not necessarily true. While many nurse assistants work in nursing homes, many others working in assisted living facilities, hospitals, and in home health organizations.

Aides that work in nursing homes are the majority. They provide the long term care that the elderly residents need in order to function day to day. They also provide rehabilitation or therapy care for the seniors that need it. Their responsibilities include dressing, feeding, toileting, and transportation around a facility. Aides also go with residents to doctor appointments if needed. There are many other duties that these nursing home aides provide.

CNAs that work in hospitals provide much of the same care as described above, but certain hospitals may limit the amount of care that a CNA can provide. The responsibilities normally held by a CNA in a nursing home may be under the job description of an LPN in a hospital setting.

Other CNAs that work in assisted living facilities provide some of the same care, but on a less intense basis than nursing home aides. This is because residents in assisted living facilities are more independent than those living in a skilled nursing facility as a general rule. The aides may also make a lower hourly wage than nursing home CNAs.

CNAs that are employed by home health organizations usually will need further training or in-services to change their title to Home Health Aide or HHA. Some states may allow the CNA to hold both certifications while others may require that the CNA can only hold one or the other. These aides provide all of the duties that nursing home aides do and may also provide some light housekeeping.

There are also options to provide care privately as a companion for elderly people that do not need assistance, only companionship. Some day care organizations may hire CNAs to provide low level care to clients.