By Elisha Machado
BOSTON (WWLP) – Massachusetts nursing homes are getting more funding from the state this year than approved by Governor Charlie Baker in July. They say the money can help ensure their workers are paid a living wage.
Nursing home facilities are the second largest health care employer in the state, providing jobs for 77,000 workers. But nursing facilities are underfunded by $37 per day, per patient, according to the Massachusetts Senior Care Association.
“Since we’re so dependent on Government funding, our ability to invest is based on state revenues,” President Tara Gregorio of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association said.
Lawmakers recently restored $7.5 million in Medicaid nursing facility funding to the fiscal 2018 state budget after the House and Senate voted to override the Governor’s line item veto.
Gregorio told 22News the funding will be used to help pay the wages of caregivers who on average make about $13 per hour.
“They help and assist our residents with all aspects of daily living: eating, going to the bathroom, dressing, bathing, etc., and more importantly, often times it’s companionship,” Gregorio said.
Last year, the Baker-Polito Administration and the legislature approved about $35 million in funding for a one-time wage increase for several positions.
But MSCA says $90 million in state funding is necessary to provide a living wage for nursing home workers.
The Senate will likely take up more budget veto overrides from the House in the coming weeks.