Everett Herald | February 13, 2023
During the pandemic, a temporary increase in the Medicaid rate helped nursing facilities raise wages for some low-wage workers by up to $4 per hour, according to the state budget. Senate Bill 5526 makes this change permanent.
And the bill would require a facility to spend a minimum percent of any rate increases to increase wages for the low-wage direct and indirect care workforce — nursing assistants and housekeepers for example.
Adam Glickman, secretary-treasurer of SEIU 775 — a union that represents 45,000 workers in home care and skilled nursing facilities — said this part of the bill is needed for accountability and transparency. The union has heard from some non-union workers that in the past, reimbursements rates have increased while wages stayed flat.
“I think we just want to make sure that, and I think a lot of legislators want to be sure that, if they’re increasing the funding, that the funding is really going to the place that needs it the most — which is increasing wages and benefits for lower wage, nursing home workers.”
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