After a surge of COVID-19 cases in April and early May, we appear to be trending toward “recovery.” Today, there are no cases of COVID-19 among our residents. Six members of staff, out on medical leave, are on their way to recovery. We have opened our doors to admit new short-term patients who are negative for COVID-19. We cannot say with certainty that this crisis is over. We can only say that, for now, we are making our way back to business as usual.
As Deutsches Altenheim settles into its new “normal,” I thought I would shift the focus of my weekly update slightly to share information from other sources that I hope you will find both enlightening and, if you’re a Massachusetts voter, empowering.
First, I’d like to share a this Boston Globe article. Oftentimes, the only coverage nursing homes receive in the press is negative. This article is different in that it provides a frank look at both the difficulties and the rewards of working in nursing homes.
Secondly, and most importantly, I ask for your assistance with an urgent matter concerning Massachusetts nursing homes. If you are a registered voter in Massachusetts, I urge you to take action before the June 17 deadline.
Nursing facilities are facing an unprecedented workforce and financial crisis that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Massachusetts Senior Coalition, a group of concerned citizens, residents, family members and employees who believe nursing home residents deserve the highest quality of care, has filed and is advocating for a nursing home ballot initiative. The initiative seeks the passage of a 2020 ballot question that would create a law requiring the state to adequately fund and support nursing home care.
Facts about nursing homes in Massachusetts
- 70% of nursing home residents depend on Medicaid for their quality care each year.
- More than 30 nursing homes have closed in the past two years.
- 73,000 caregivers are employed by skilled nursing facilities.
- Medicaid reimbursement in our state is among the worst in the nation.
- Medicaid residents in nursing homes are facing a $362 million funding gap.
- Each Medicaid resident’s care is underfunded by an average of $38.00 a day.
There is a crisis going on in Massachusetts nursing homes. The crisis is not new, but the pandemic has certainly brought it to the forefront for nursing home staff, residents and family members. Nursing homes don’t want to be ill-prepared when a crisis such as the pandemic strikes, as it did in March. The stark reality, however, is that nursing homes in Massachusetts have been underfunded for decades, resulting in staffing and supply shortages, and buildings in disrepair. Nursing homes, including Deutsches Altenheim, were struggling pre-pandemic to make ends meet. The pandemic drained an already-strained system of a healthy workforce, adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and much-needed funds to maintain viability.
We urgently need your support. Please sign the petition to protect staff, residents and their families who rely on vital nursing home care.
Be well, stay healthy, and please, wear a mask,
Michael B. Lincoln
Chief Executive Officer
Download the update: May 29 Update