Nursing Home Union Members Hope New Legislation Will Have a Positive Impact on Care

In our last post, we talked about a group of local nursing aides who expressed their concern about resident care by supporting the statewide nursing “Day of Action” that took place on March 21. In today’s post, we want to discuss an article that appeared in the Central Penn Business Journal ( about three proposed bills that would increase regulations on Pennsylvania nursing homes.

The article discusses a report by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Pennsylvania that claims that almost 30 percent of Pennsylvania facilities analyzed did not spend at least 95 percent of their resident care Medicaid component amount on resident care costs in 2011. The union claims that not only are patients being shortchanged, but that workers are being affected by underfunding direct care, inadequate wages, and staffing.

The report also says that nursing homes generated more than $500 million in profits in 2011, with a total margin near the national level of 4.7 percent. Yet a 2012 survey of nursing home employees in Pennsylvania showed that 12 percent of workers have more than one job and 11 percent receive public assistance.

According to the article, the report said that 54 percent of workers say their facility is only sometimes adequately staffed, and 27 percent say their facility is never adequately staffed.

The three bills being proposed would require nursing homes to meet minimum level of nurse aide staffing, report turnover and staffing levels to the Department of Health, and spend a minimum amount of their Medicaid resident care per diem rate.

The fact that these union members are taking a stand and backing this legislation says alot about how they feel about their work and the people they are caring for. We all want the best for our loved ones who are in skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes, and we put our trust in those whose job it is to provide that kind of care. In this economy, we’re all struggling to do our best and provide for ourselves and our families. We hope that these bills do make their way through, so that nursing home residents and those who are taking care of them, receive the help and support that they need.

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