Nursing home lobbyists are trying to trick Rhode Island legislators and citizens that requiring safe staffing at nursing homes will cause the world to collapse and everyone will go bankrupt. Ridiculous. Plenty of nursing homes provide staffing higher than what Rhode Island is suggesting as a minimum standard.
The proposed legislation would raise the state’s minimum staffing requirements. The minimum staffing legislation, sponsored by Rep. Scott Slater, requires nursing homes to provide 4.1 hours of direct care daily to each resident. Numerous article have made it clear that 4.1 is the minimum safe staffing for nursing home residents. It would also increase staff pay to a living wage at $15 per hour.
Scott Fraser, president of the Rhode Island Health Care Association, complained without evidence that the minimum safe staffing bill is “unrealistic” and would put many of the state’s nursing homes out of business. “There is no way homes can comply with the provisions of this bill and stay in business. It really is that simple.”
Right now, Rhode Island nursing homes provide an average of 3.6 hours of direct care to each resident, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Attorney General Peter Neronha is among those who support the legislation, arguing that Rhode Island “is one of only a handful of states not to have a nursing home staffing standard.”
“Consequently, our state ranks near the bottom of the national average for hours of care provided to nursing home residents,” Neronha testified. “Many falls, infections and other injuries can be prevented by ensuring that health care workers are spending the time we know nursing home residents need to be safe and well cared for.”