ADVOCACY IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

 

SUPPORT LONG TERM CARE WORKERS

The Rhode Island Health Care Association called upon the State of Rhode Island to provide an additional $1,000 per week to every staff member working in nursing homes during the COVID-19 crisis. Federal funds could be used to back such an effort.

“Our staff are crucial workers on the frontlines and they deserve additional pay during this unprecedented time. Nursing home workers are on the job every day, 24 hours a day seven days a week. We believe an additional $1,000 payment is the least our state can do to assist workers who are stepping up each day to care for our frail elderly residents. Every person who works in a nursing home is critical to protecting the health and safety of our residents.”

- SCOTT FRASER, RIHCA PRESIDENT AND CEO 

Governor Raimondo has said she supports $600 hazard pay for workers. 

Special thanks go to Senator Reed and the federal delegation for supporting hazard pay.

Update 4.24.20:

“Governor Gina Raimondo today announced she would provide forgivable loans to nursing homes to provide hazard pay to a number of our dedicated workers. RIHCA communicated with the governor in recent weeks to let her know we believed monetary recognition for their work was necessary and well-deserved. Governor Raimondo said on our call that she heard us. We thank Governor Raimondo for stepping in for one group of our workers who keep stepping up.”

- SCOTT FRASER, RIHCA PRESIDENT AND CEO

Raimondo: RI announces pay raises for nursing home staff and help from the National Guard

 

EFFICIENT TESTING TO PREVENT SPREAD

RIHCA has urged Governor Raimondo and the Department of Health to make CVS rapid response tests available to nursing homes. Presently, residents and workers who are tested must wait days for results. A rapid response test in 30 minutes would allow nursing homes to distinguish immediately upon entry whether a staff member has COVID-19 or simply seasonal allergies. A negative result would allow staff members to continue to do their jobs.

“Rapid response testing is a critical need in the nursing home population both for our residents and our staff. The CVS rapid response test is an amazing tool that could save lives in nursing homes.”

- SCOTT FRASER, RIHCA PRESIDENT AND CEO

 

ACTIVATE A STRIKE TEAM

Nursing homes have critical staffing plans for emergency situations. However, these plans are not applicable in these unprecedented times. 

A Strike Team would include RNs, LPNs, and CNAs for patient care. The team would also consist of staff to provide meals, laundry service, and cleaning in addition to nursing care. In the current emergency, these jobs would not require extensive training–anyone willing to do so could help out in the kitchen, or clean tables, beds and floors. For these roles, no health care credentials or specialized training would be required.

“Every task conducted in a nursing home is crucial to the health and safety of our residents. Anyone from an average Rhode Islander, to a member of the National Guard to a CNA, could serve on these teams. The issue is, a staffing crisis will not come with a 48-hour notice. It will happen immediately and with great impact. For this, we need the Department of Health and the Governor’s office to help ready these teams now.”

- SCOTT FRASER, RIHCA PRESIDENT AND CEO

UPDATE 4.24.20: The RIHCA has advocated for strike teams so when our homes face staffing shortages due to workers being out ill, we have additional staff available immediately. Immediate access to staff will prevent drastic measures like evacuations of residents to other facilities.

RIHCA thanks Governor Raimondo for helping to assist our nursing homes with staffing needs when critical shortages arise.