Vander Meer Sits on Panel at LaFollette School’s Inaugural Policy Forum

Earlier this week, WHCA/WiCAL President and CEO John Vander Meer moderated and participated in a panel discussion at the LaFollette School of Public Affairs’ Health Policy Forum held at the Monona Terrace in Madison.

The panel, entitled “Caring for an Aging Population: Quality, Workforce, and the Patient Experience,” included Lindsay Jacobs, Assistant Professor at the LaFollette School of Public Affairs, State Representative Deb Kolste, and Theresa Pichelmeyer, President and CEO of Valley VNA Senior Services.

The panel discussed the “silver tsunami,” the growing population of older people with increasing healthcare needs, demographic and workforce trends, and maintaining Wisconsin’s high-quality care environment.

“The 2020 Workforce Report is providing some sobering realities within the long-term care profession. In the first installment, we had a 1 in 7 caregiver vacancy rate. In the second installment, we had a 1 in 5 caregiver vacancy rate. In the most recent installment, we had a 1 in 4 vacancy rate,” said Vander Meer during the panel discussion. “It is also important to note anytime you have a conversation about vacancy rates, that being a caregiver is an incredibly difficult job. It takes a very special kind of person to be a caregiver. It is hard work, but it is heart work.”