This week the Rhode Island Health Care Association (RIHCA) released a statement advocating for the waiver of impending fines set forth by a new law that mandates a certain amount of care …
This week the Rhode Island Health Care Association (RIHCA) released a statement advocating for the waiver of impending fines set forth by a new law that mandates a certain amount of care required to be given to residents within nursing care.
The letter makes a compelling argument that nearly 3 out of every 4 nursing care facilities in the state is unable to provide the necessary amount of care, due largely to the unavailability of staffing that has been amplified due to a drain of employees from the healthcare system since Covid.
As a result, these facilities face millions of dollars in fines — up to $60 million in the first full year of implementation of the new law, by the RIHCA’s calculations — and a majority of facilities would be forced to cease operations should the fine structure be implemented as it was written in Rhode Island law.
While we believe the law mandating a higher amount of care was written and implemented with good intentions, it cannot be ignored that such a law has, in practice, merely revealed the known limitations and weaknesses of the elder care system in the state and rather than address those, has threatened their very existence in laying down this mandate.
Quality care for our senior citizens cannot be ensured by merely requiring a certain amount of time dedicated to them. That can only be done by ensuring that facilities have ample amounts of trained professionals to care for them. And that can only be accomplished by ensuring that healthcare professionals are able to enjoy a satisfactory standard of living through reasonable wages and job security.
The problem facing senior citizens is not a problem unique to Rhode Island, and there is no simple solution within an industry that is rife with as much mismanagement, waste, and convolution as the United States healthcare system. However, it can certainly be taken as a sign that when the care facilities sound the alarm as the RIHCA has in this instance, the chosen solution has missed the mark and should be reexamined. At the very least, the proposed fines should be postponed until a better solution can be amended.
Nursing homes and elder care facilities should be given more latitude when it comes to categorizing patients who have support from family members, and which patients do not, and allocate resources more appropriately rather than a blanket mandate requiring a certain number of hours per patient that disregards staffing and the abilities of each unique location.
With the goal of helping more senior citizens enjoy a better quality of life, we can hardly imagine that legislators want to see dozens of facilities close down, rendering some of our most vulnerable citizens even less cared for than before.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here