The $425M investment is the result of years of advocacy from frontline caregivers that brought together the Administration, nursing home industry, workers and legislators to implement groundbreaking reform.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 8, 2022
Harrisburg, PA: In a victory for caregivers, Pennsylvania seniors, and those needing long term care, the state legislature passed a budget Friday that includes a historic $425M investment into nursing home care.
“Nursing home workers have risked their health and worked through unimaginable, heartbreaking conditions for our residents for the last 3 years,” said Karen Hipple, an LPN of 42 years who has been fighting for improvements through her union as a member organizer this year.
“The pandemic made apparent that the system was not working, even prior to this catastrophic event. This investment means better jobs and better staffing, which means better care for our residents.”
$131M of the funding comes from ARPA money to help ease the nursing home crisis brought on by COVID. The rest is for a permanent, recurring increase in nursing home funding which, when combined with the federal match, means approximately $600M annually to help meet the staffing ratios advanced by Governor Wolf in the updated nursing home regulations.
The funding also comes with accountability – 70% of this investment must be spent on bedside care.
“Our caregivers, seniors, and those needing nursing home care have been paying the price of an underfunded system for decades,” said Matthew Yarnell, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. “Today marks an historic moment when the demands of workers were heard, and we brought together the Governor’s administration, the nursing home industry, and legislators to start building the reform we need. We need to make sure that all Pennsylvanians can receive safe, reliable care in the setting of their choice.”
Additionally, the budget includes a $29M increase for state-run veterans homes, and an additional $35M for the nurse loan forgiveness program.
“Nursing home workers demanded these changes, advocated for our residents, and we will finally be able to carry them out in our individual homes,” said Rachael Herczeg, LPN from Allentown. “The power that we have through our union is unimaginable, and we are going to keep on organizing, growing, and leading the kind of changes that center those who need care and those of us who provide it.”
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest-growing union of nurses and healthcare workers, uniting tens of thousands of professional and technical employees, direct care workers, and service employees in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home- and community-based services, and state facilities across the Commonwealth. SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania members are committed to improving the lives of health care workers and ensuring quality care and healthy communities for all Pennsylvanians.