Olympia, WA – Nursing home workers from around the state spent the day Thursday in Olympia to try to convince their legislators to support an additional funding source for skilled nursing care facilities: a Quality Assurance Fee paid by nursing home operators based on their profits. Comments from Nick Federici (FED-ah-REE-chee), legislative director, Washington United for Quality Nursing Home Care; and Donna Peake, a Vancouver certified nurse's assistant.
Intro: Nursing home workers are voicing support for a new funding source for nursing homes in Washington. It’s known as a Quality Assurance Fee, and it is already used in more than 30 other states. Nick Federici, with the group “Washington United for Quality Nursing Home Care,” says it’s a way to dedicate more money to caring for older and disabled residents…without having to charge them more.
|Cut 145098 :15 "It’s a fee that’s actually paid by the nursing home organizations themselves. Those fees are then matched by the federal government and that money comes back into Washington state to pay for nursing home care of low-income Medicaid patients across the state."|
Suggested Tag: The bill prohibits nursing home operators from raising their rates in order to pay the Quality Assurance Fees. Some operators are concerned that the fees will give an unfair competitive advantage to nursing homes that have more low-income patients and therefore will get more federal matching money. But Federici’s group estimates only two nursing homes in the state would pay more in fees than they would receive.
Alternate Cut: The fee would be a percentage of the home's profit, based on the number of beds it has and the number of Medicaid patients it cares for. Donna Peake is a certified nurse’s assistant in Vancouver. She says a dedicated funding source would be welcome. Cuts at her employer have meant fewer caregivers…and more frustration for staff and residents.
|Cut 155098 :14 "You’ve gotta take shortcuts to meet the care, y’know, to try to get things done when you’re working with that many residents. And it’s hard – it hurts me, because I know I’m better than that – but because we don’t have the staff, I can’t deliver the quality care that they need to have."|
Alternate Tag: The House bill to create the fee is sponsored by Representative Tami Green of Lakewood, a registered nurse who has worked in long-term care facilities. It has 23 co-sponsors.