RHODE ISLAND – The “Raise the Bar on Resident Care” report released by the District 1199 SEIU New England union demands legislative action for what the group calls a “resident care crisis in Rhode Island nursing homes.”

The report says that the state is one of 11 that does not require a minimum number of hours of direct care per resident per day. 

Rhode Island’s median wage for certified nursing aides is also lower than in surrounding states. Its CNAs make $14.42 per hour, while the median wage is $15.54 in Massachusetts and $16.18 in Connecticut.

The union report challenges state legislatures to pass a law that ensures every nursing home resident gets at least 4.1 hours of care per day. 

It also recommends raising the entry level wages of caregivers and nursing home support staff to $15 per hour, with a minimum $4 increase for nursing home professionals already making $15 or more per hour.

Long-term care operator advocates were not swayed. 

“Unfortunately, this report totally ignores the root of the problem, the chronic underfunding of nursing homes by Medicaid,” Jim Nymberg, director of LeadingAge Rhode Island told McKnight’s. “Industry workers and providers need to work together to lobby our government to obtain fair and equitable Medicaid reimbursements.”