The pandemic laid bare our broken healthcare system. Our nursing homes are in crisis.
Our staffing regulations are outdated. It has been over 30 years since staffing regulations have been updated. Residents currently receive 2.7 care hours per 24-hour period, meaning residents are often visited only once in an eight hour shift.
Our residents are sicker. Residents now come to nursing homes older, sicker and with more cognitive difficulties than they did in placing greater demand on existing staff.
We are doing more with less. Prior to COVID-19, nursing homes were already short staffed due to poverty wages and lack of worker protections. During the COVID-19 pandemic, staff are now responsible for taking care of 20-30 residents each.
The nursing home industry is collapsing. According to a recent survey by the American Healthcare Association, as many as 66% of nursing homes say they could close in 2021.
The good news is that there is a path to address this crisis and make sure we never end up here again. We, as frontline caregivers, have the political power through our union to make it happen.
From 2.7 to 4.1 Care Hours
- Getting to 4.1. For twenty years, the centers for Medicaid services have recommended raising staffing levels to 4.1 care hours per day to ensure safe resident care.
- Updating regulations. We are demanding that Governor Wolf adopt 4.1 care hours per day in new Long Term Care regulations that are being released in the coming months.
- Legislative staffing reform. Pennsylvania should adopt a nursing home reform package in response to the COVID-19 crisis modeled after New Jersey, that implements staffing ratios for nursing home staff, raises CNA wages, and offers temporary increases to nursing home funding.
Holding Bad Operators Accountable
- No more blank checks for providers. Despite receiving $450 million in COVID-19 assistance, only 30% of nursing homes received hazard pay.
- Nursing home transparency. With nursing home ownership becoming increasingly complex, we want to see transparency in where our tax dollars are going and make sure that nursing home funding is reaching the bedside.
We are working with Senator Katie Muth to draft legislation that will create a public reporting of all nursing home funding — including reporting of all corporations and LLCs that are affiliated with a nursing home operator.
Stay up to date on our work to build political power for frontline caregivers by texting CRISIS to 787-753.