The Newtown Rehabilitation & Health Care Center was cited with an immediate jeopardy order earlier this year. Stephen Busemeyer / CT Mirror

Athena Health Care Systems is a leader and pioneer in delivering high quality care to our residents and families. In the rare occurrence where our staffing levels were less than desirable and comprised the timely delivery of patient care, it does not overshadow the thousands of positive daily interactions our staff have and continue to have with patients, families, and professionals alike.

Our staff work diligently, with care and attention to improve the lives of those they serve. Quality of life is of the utmost importance to us, and in our nearly 40-year celebrated history we have delivered and will continue to deliver high quality patient care.

Lawrence Santilli

Our team of highly qualified professionals has developed and are always looking at our strategic procedures which will continue to lead Athena Health Care Systems to grow against these industry challenges in healthcare.

In a recent January 2023 job report from the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), it analyzed data beginning in January of 2020 to December of 2022 collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data presented in this job report showed the nursing home workforce is at levels not seen since 1994, according to the Federal Reserve economic data. The January 2023 job report also reports nursing homes added 3,700 jobs per month over the last nine months yet at this pace nursing homes won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2027, according to the 2023 Job Report from AHCA and NCAL.

This data overwhelmingly shows the challenges the healthcare industry, specifically in the long-term skilled nursing setting, that we are experiencing.

Athena Health Care Systems is dedicated to rebuilding our workforce as we face these challenges against our industry at this time. Nursing homes lost more jobs than any other business in the health care sector from February 2020 through December 2022 with a total of 210,000 jobs lost. Compared to assisted living facilities with a loss of 4,200 jobs and alternatively physicians’ offices with a job gain of 157,700 jobs, according to the report.

I personally have made many visits to our centers, including several visits to Newtown Rehabilitation & Health Care Center. During my visits and conversations with our certified nurse’s aides, we discussed the state of our workforce, scheduling concerns and wages and other topics. Our C.N.A.’s are a critical part of our teams on the front lines and the first people I seek out to talk to upon entering any of our centers.

Our teams of highly trained professionals and I worked tirelessly to staff over what is required. I also want to reiterate how quickly our team addressed immediate jeopardy at Newtown Rehabilitation & Health Care Center. Within four hours of it being issued on Friday, January 13, a corrective plan of action was submitted, and immediate jeopardy was lifted on Sunday, January 15.

Athena Health Care Systems will continue to meet the long-term care needs of the state’s aging population. Our healthcare industry has been through unprecedented challenges, and like hospitals and other rehabilitation facilities, we are rebuilding our workforce with strong recruitment and retention programs to aim to have the most skillful talent to care for our residents and families.

Lawrence G. Santilli is President & C.E.O. of Athena Health Care Systems.