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2/4/2020 Whip Goodwin and Rep. Slater will introduce Nursing Home Staffing and Quality of Care Act
STATE HOUSE – Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) and Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence) will be introducing legislation that will establish a nursing home minimum staffing standard, raise wages for caregivers, and provide needed training opportunities for caregivers.

The legislation will be highlighted at a rally held at the State House on February 5 at 3:30 p.m. in the State House Rotunda.

“There is a resident care crisis in our state. Staffing shortages and low wages have created a need for qualified caregivers which leads to seniors and people with disabilities not receiving the care they desperately need. We must confront this problem head-on before our nursing home system collapses,” said Whip Goodwin.

 “Rhode Island is the only New England state without minimum staffing requirements for our nursing homes.  We also have one of the largest elderly populations in the country.  These two facts are a recipe for disaster if we do not act now to reverse the falling number of quality and qualified caregivers,” said Representative Slater.

The legislation will establish a minimum standard of 4.1 hours of resident care per day, the federal recommendation for quality care and long endorsed by experts including the American Nurses Association, the Coalition of Geriatric Nursing Organizations, and the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care.  Rhode Island is the only New England state with no minimum staffing requirements in our nursing homes.  Only 10 other states have not guaranteed staffing requirements for nursing home residents.

The bill will also secure funding to raise wages for caregivers to recruit and retain a stable and qualified workforce.  Short staffing drives high turnover in nursing homes.  Not only does high turnover create undue stress and burnout for remaining staff, it diverts valuable resources to recruit, orient and train new employees and rely on overtime and agency staff.  Low wages are a significant driver of the staffing crisis.  The median wage for a CNA in Rhode Island is less than $15, and $1/hour lower than the median wage in both Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The legislation will also invest in needed training and skills enhancement for caregivers to provide care for patients with increasing acuity and complex healthcare needs.

Rhode Island has the highest proportion of adults ages 85 and older in the nation, a number that will dramatically increase as the Baby Boomer generation enters the long term care system.  By 2030, Rhode Island will see an increase of 100,000 residents aged 65 and older.  In order to effectively manage this upcoming increase of patients in need of care, Rhode Island must institute nursing home reforms before it is too late.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903