STATEMENT FROM THE MASSACHUSETTS SENIOR CARE ASSOCIATION REGARDING THE ADMINISTRATION'S PLANS FOR STAFFING NURSING HOMES AND FUNDING WAGES
While we acknowledge and are grateful for Governor Baker's and Secretary Sudders’ continued support for nursing home residents, their families and caregivers, we believe the crisis situation warrants significant additional investments for our frontline staff. Together with the Command Center, we are making good progress on accessing testing and vital PPE, but we need to do more to help protect and support our residents, their families and workforce, including funding a double-time ‘hero’ wage.
Today, 40% of staffing positions are currently vacant due to the COVID-19 crisis. We are working diligently to identify pools of workers, utilize the state’s long term care employment portal and we are offering as robust financial incentives as we can afford to existing staff, but the stark reality is that we are unable to reach the most basic staffing levels. The only way we believe we can meaningfully begin to stabilize our staffing is for the state to provide a $130 million dollar monthly investment to fund overtime costs, hiring of new staff and double time for ‘hero’s pay’ for our frontline staff, and ensure their safety through the consistent availability of PPE.
This unprecedented crisis requires unprecedented state investment.
Tara Gregorio, President, Massachusetts Senior Care Association