Protect Nursing Home Staffing Standards and Medicaid Access!

June 24, 2024

On June 5, nursing home workers from our Union and other allies spoke to congressional leaders in Washington DC, calling on them to protect two new recently-announced rules that will positively impact long-term care workers  and our families. Click here to see pictures from the rally

President Biden and Vice President Harris announced the Nursing Home Staffing and Medicaid Access Rules in April as a major investment in an essential workforce that has historically been left behind. This incredible victory could not have been achieved without the strength and resilience of our members. During a roundtable discussion, Harris acknowledged SEIU 2015 members for their hard work in championing long-term care throughout California. 

But now, these rules are under attack in Congress. In both the Senate and House, representatives have introduced new resolutions outlawing ANY federal safe staffing mandate now or in the future. We won’t let this happen. We need your support and voice in telling government officials to put care first. 

These rules will positively impact care work by:

  • Establishing staffing mandates per the number of residents.
  • Requiring 80% of Medicaid payments for home health to go to care workers.
  • Creating an advisory group, which will include care workers and consumers, to consult on wages.
  • Increasing transparency in Medicaid spending. 

The new rules would bring us to a more just, inclusive Future of Care where workers have safe workplaces and recipients have access to the best care possible. 

Robin Wood, a SEIU 2015 member and nursing home worker in Humboldt County, spoke about the difficulties she has faced working in an understaffed facility: 

“One time, me and one other nursing home worker were responsible for caring for 40 residents the whole night – double the amount of people we usually care for during one shift,” said Robin. “This means that me and the nurse had to rotate rounds throughout the whole night, with very limited breaks in between. Not only is this inhumane to us as workers, but it significantly puts our residents’ safety at risk. Thankfully at my current facility, we do have safe staffing and we strive to keep it that way.” 

Susana Hernandez Gomez, another SEIU 2015 member and nursing home worker from Yolo County, expressed her experience working in a facility during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic: 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us nursing assistants were dealing with extra patients. On top of that, we didn’t have enough protective equipment. Sometimes, we don’t have enough supplies in our kitchen such as soap. They would give us COVID tests but we weren’t always informed if we were positive,” said Susana. “I ended up showing symptoms and giving it to my coworker who passed away.  It was extremely stressful dealing with this loss and having to care for an increased number of patients because we were short staffed. Care workers are essential and it’s time that we are given respect by ensuring we have safe staffing standards.” 

The nursing home lobby and its corporate funders cannot be trusted to do the right thing – workers know this better than anyone. We won’t back down from protecting what we deserve: safe working conditions and living wages.