Investments to Create More Home-Based Care Options Amidst Spread of COVID-19 in Congregate Living Facilities
Governor Gina Raimondo announced a plan to expand home-based care options in Rhode Island as the state continues to grapple with the spread of COVID-19 in congregate living facilities. Before COVID-19, 61% of the state’s long-term care recipients lived in nursing facilities, which have struggled to contain the spread and impact of COVID-19 on residents and staff.
“This is the right direction for Rhode Island,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “We have been in response mode, and our facilities and staff are doing their best, but as we continue to fight this virus, we need to reduce our reliance on nursing facilities and expand home-based care options. We also need to make sure that our direct care workforce is valued in institutions and in the community with training, support and good wages.”
Raimondo’s $25M plan includes investments in nursing facility supports to implement infection control, investments in capital and program changes to fundamentally re-orient the delivery of care in nursing facilities, and targeted investments to expand home-base care options, through home-based workforce incentives, training and supports. The state will also invest to assist families in better understanding long-term care options and accessing home-based care options when discharged from hospitals.
“The pandemic exposed structural and organizational weaknesses within the long-term care system — inadequate staffing, high turn-over, low pay and lack training” said Patrick Quinn, Executive Vice President of SEIU 1199 New England, “We need to build a more resilient long-term care system that gives consumers and their families more independence when choosing a long term care setting and creates a living wage for caregivers as we rebalance our long term care system and drive more investment to direct care of the elderly and individuals living with disabilities. The status quo in nursing homes and home care is failing Rhode Island residents and families which is unacceptable.”
“COVID-19’s impact on older adults and persons living with disabilities with long term care needs has been dramatic,” said Maureen Maigret, co-chair of the State’s Long Term Care Coordinating Council. “I am pleased the Governor has announced this long term supports and services resiliency plan. We need to reimagine how we deliver and finance long term care. To make home and community-based services – where persons overwhelmingly prefer to receive care — more accessible and to support our families in assisting their loved ones to remain at home. Our nursing homes provide essential services to those with a high care needs. This plan will address the resources and workforce needed to better provide high quality, resident-centered care and nursing home care.”
“Historically, we’ve discharged thousands of hospital patients to nursing facilities every year. Times have changed now. Our colleagues are talking about this across the country. We need to build a system of home-based workforce and care that can work with us as we discharge patients safely to their homes to recover with the supports they need.” said Tim Babineau, CEO of Lifespan.
Nicholas Oliver, Executive Director for the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care, issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement:
:“Home care providers have not benefited from the State’s allocation of COVID-19 related funding and personal protective equipment (PPE) needs in parity with our nursing home colleagues to date. Our association is looking forward to working with Governor Raimondo and her administration to address the issues identified within the ‘Long-Term Care Resiliency Plan’. While the plan’s content does not adequately address the immediate funding and resource needs of home care providers, it is our desire to continue the dialogue with the Governor’s leadership team on maintaining a sustainable network of home care providers during the ongoing public health emergency for all Rhode Islanders in need, including COVID-19 survivors requiring post-acute and sub-acute home care services.
The Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care will continue to advocate for these needs, along with our proposals to save taxpayer dollars by rebalancing long-term care financing that shifts federal and state funds from costly nursing homes to strengthen home care operations and services, reduce taxpayer-funded duplication of state programs that provide lesser quality home care services, incentivize Rhode Islanders to choose home care as a career choice and a preferred healthcare setting to work, improve state case management of Medicaid beneficiaries and hold all home care providers accountable to the optimal healthcare delivery standards of the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care.“