PA nursing home workers advocate for stricter regulation

(Central Penn Business) More than 100 nursing home workers gathered in Harrisburg yesterday to support three proposed bills that would increase regulations on Pennsylvania nursing homes.

The gathering follows a report by Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania that nearly 30 percent of Pennsylvania facilities analyzed did not spend at least 95 percent of their resident care Medicaid component amount on resident care costs in fiscal year 2011.

The report also said that nursing homes generated more than $500 million in profits in 2011, with a total margin near the national level of 4.7 percent, and that a 2012 survey of nursing home workers across the state showed that 12 percent of employees work more than one job and 11 percent receive public assistance.

The report also said that 54 percent of survey workers said their facility is only sometimes adequately staffed, and 27 percent say their facility is never adequately staffed.

Pennsylvania Senate bills 624, 625 and 626 would require nursing homes to meet a minimum level of nurse aide staffing, report turnover and staffing levels to the Department of Health, and spend a minimum amount of their Medicaid resident care per diem rate.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest growing union of health care workers, representing 25,000 nurses, technicians, nursing assistants, and support staff in hospitals, nursing homes and public institutions across the state.