Proposed MA state budget includes extra $30 million for nursing homes

Hourly workers in nursing homes could see a significant boost in their paycheck if Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed state budget passes. The plan includes an additional $30 million for nursing homes.

Tara Gregorio, senior vice president of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association (MSCA), says $18 million of that would go toward boosting workers’ wages.

"We feel as if there’s equal opportunity, or should be, for CNAs to also earn $15," Gregorio says to State House News Service, adding other industries are already pushing for a state minimum wage increase.

Median hourly earnings for nursing home workers in Massachusetts were:

  • CNA $13.36,
  • Dietary aides $10.33,
  • Housekeeping aides $11.10 and
  • Laundry aides – $11.07.

Nursing home wages have been stagnant since 2008, according to a Quality Jobs for Quality Care report by MSCA. In addition to a wage increase, MSCA is also pushing for wages to be adjusted for inflation. If pay for CNAs had been tied to inflation over the past eight years, it would already be at $15 an hour, Gregorio says.

MSCA wants to see $90 million allocated in the fiscal 2017 budget for a “rate add-on for wages, benefits and related employee costs.” The money would be distributed to nursing homes based on the number of residents whose care is paid for by Medicaid, Gregorio says to The Boston Globe. Facilities would have to demonstrate those funds were used to increase wages and benefits. 

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