Boston -- The Massachusetts Senior Care Association (MSCA) is calling on legislators to support a constitutional amendment that would add a 4% surtax on personal incomes over $1 million. It is estimated that approval of this ballot initiative would generate nearly $2 billion in additional state revenues, which is necessary to better ensure that there is sufficient state revenue to fund critical services including transportation, education and health and social services.
The Commonwealth’s nursing facilities provide a core state service to individuals who can no longer live safely in the community or individuals in need of brief rehabilitation services following a hospital admission before returning home. The state’s 77,000 nursing home workers provide around-the-clock, high quality care to the approximately 40,000 residents living in the state’s nursing facilities each day.
“Unfortunately, due to state revenue constraints, the Commonwealth has been unable to adequately invest in nursing facility care, making Massachusetts the 4th worst in the nation for funding quality nursing home care,” said Tara Gregorio, President of MSCA. “Consequently, facilities have not had the resources to make vital investments in quality resident care and frontline direct care staff. As a result, the vacancy rate for frontline staff has increased significantly over the last few years, with one in seven direct care positions unfilled.”
Nursing facilities care for primarily low-income individuals – two thirds have their care paid for by MassHealth. As such, nursing facilities are disproportionately dependent state funding and most nursing facilities do not have the option to offset Medicaid payment shortfalls with revenue from other sources.
Currently, it costs nursing homes $37 more per day, per patient than the state pays for the cost of caring for the state’s vulnerable elderly population.
“Passage of this amendment will allow the state to better meet its obligation and priority to ensure the safety and care of Massachusetts citizens,” said Gregorio.
ABOUT: The Massachusetts Senior Care Association represents a diverse set of organizations that deliver a broad spectrum of services to meet the needs of older adults and people with disabilities. Its members include more than 400 nursing and rehabilitation facilities, assisted living residences, residential care facilities and continuing care retirement communities. Forming a crucial link in the continuum of care, Mass Senior Care facilities provide housing, health care and support services to more than 120,000 people a year; employ more than 77,000 staff members; and contribute more than $4 billion annually to the Massachusetts economy.