Nursing Home Staffing and Quality Care Act signed into law
The Nursing Home Staffing and Quality Care Act, sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin and Rep. Scott A. Slater to set minimum staffing levels for Rhode Island nursing homes, was signed into law today by Gov. Dan McKee, two days after General Assembly passage.
The legislation (2021-S 0002A, 2021-H 5012Aaa) will establish a minimum standard of 3.58 hours of resident care per day by Jan. 1, 2022, and 3.81 hours of resident care per day beginning Jan. 1, 2023. The bill also provides funding to raise wages for direct care staff to help recruit and retain a stable and qualified workforce.
“There is a resident care crisis in our state. Staffing shortages and low wages lead to seniors and people with disabilities not receiving the care they desperately need. The pandemic, of course, exponentially increased the demands of the job, and exacerbated patients’ needs. We must confront this problem head-on before our nursing home system collapses,” said Senator Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence).
Said Representative Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence),“This bill is about getting our nursing home patients the quality care that they need and deserve. Our nursing home system was already facing enormous challenges and problems before COVID-19 and the pandemic has only made these issues much worse. In order for our patients to be treated and cared for properly, these changes to the law must be made.”
The bill was signed in a ceremony outside the State House this afternoon, where the sponsors and the governor were joined by House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, House Majority Leader Christopher R. Blazejewski, Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey, numerous other senators and represenatives, and Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos. Also joining were a large group of direct care staff from Rhode Island nursing homes who, along with their patients, will benefit from the bill.
“Rhode Island nursing home residents deserve the best possible care and our nursing home staff deserve the supports they need to make that happen. Stronger staffing standards and funding for direct care staff will help raise the bar on resident care in our state,” said Governor McKee. “Thank you to Senate Majority Whip Goodwin, Representative Slater and all the advocates for their dedication to getting this legislation passed.”
IN PHOTO: Sponsors Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence) and Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin at the signing of the Nursing Home Staffing and Quality Care Act.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903