Mass. proposes increased LTC funding

Massachusetts legislators have introduced legislation in the house and senate, respectively bills H. 2072 and S. 336, to increase wages for nursing home workers and the decade-old Medicaid reimbursement level facilities rely on to operate and pay workers.

“Increased state funding for this human service is the right thing to do in order to provide the highest level of care for our seniors who truly deserve no less from us,” said co-sponsor Rep. James Arciero in a statement to the Sentinel & Enterprise.

Facilities lose about $37 a day per patient because of a gap between costs and Medicaid reimbursement, which is lower in nursing homes than home health centers and hospitals, according to the Massachusetts Senior Care Association.

The proposed legislation also calls career advancement funding through the Commonwealth Corporation, established by the Legislature to ensure a steady flow of skilled workers, and a scholarship program for certified nursing aides through the Department of Public Health.

The association estimates median hourly wages for certified nursing aides are $13.82, licensed practical nurses are $25.54 and registered nurses are $28.86.

The Committee on Elder Affairs is considering the bills, which have bipartisan support from more than 130 legislators.

Golden introduced similar legislation last session that went to committee but did not pass the senate. 

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