Karen Gownley,

Issued April 22, 2024

SEIU’s Henry applauds new nursing home staffing standards, Medicaid access rule: ‘It is time to put care workers, residents and consumers first’

SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry released the following statement regarding the announcement of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services’

WASHINGTON — SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry released the following statement regarding the announcement of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services’ new “Nursing Home Minimum Staffing Rule” and “Ensuring Access to Medicaid Services Rule” as workers meet with Vice President Harris to discuss nursing home care:

“Today is an historic moment. The Biden-Harris administration has taken a major step toward strengthening our long-term care workforce, ensuring quality care for those who need it and helping every family thrive.

The 2 million working people united in SEIU – many of whom are nursing home, hospital and home care workers – applaud the Biden-Harris administration for delivering on their promise that they would confront the crisis in our country’s nursing home and home care industries head-on. By requiring 80% of Medicaid funding for home care to go directly to workers while taking into account unique circumstances for some providers and creating a federal nursing home staffing standard, our country is better equipped to move forward in the pursuit of building a long-term care system that works for everyone, in all communities.

The correlation between job quality and equal access to care is clear, and both rules are fundamental to transforming care jobs into sustainable, sought-after careers. Care workers – the majority of whom are women of color – have been underpaid and undervalued for generations due to a legacy of racism and sexism. These rules are also major investments in an essential workforce that has been historically left behind.

The provisions that make up the nursing home staffing rule mark a long-overdue seachange for how too many nursing homes operate. We know that staffing levels at nursing homes are closely linked to quality of care residents receive, but we also know that bad actors slash staffing levels and keep wages stagnant in order to maximize profits. It is significant that under this new rule, nursing homes must get input from direct care workers when assessing their unique staffing needs, centering the voices of those on the front lines to advocate for their residents.

After decades of advocating for better care and better jobs in our nation’s nursing homes — and enduring the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic — nursing home workers now have peace of mind in knowing their facilities will be held to a federal standard and equipped with both the staff and resources needed to provide the best care possible for their residents.

By ensuring 80% of Medicaid funding goes directly to home care workers, and by establishing advisory committees that will give workers and consumers a voice in setting Medicaid reimbursement rates, the Access to Medicaid Services Rule will contribute to the growth of a skilled, dedicated and diverse workforce equipped to meet the unique care needs of communities across the country.

It is time to put care workers, residents and consumers first, and take meaningful action to repair a broken care system that hurts all of us. The need to address the long-term care crisis is urgent. And when lawmakers prioritize care, everyone benefits.”


The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) unites two million diverse members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, including nearly 800,000 home care workers. SEIU members working in the healthcare industry, in the public sector and in property services believe in the power of joining together on the job to win higher wages and benefits and to create better communities while fighting for a more just society and an economy that works for all of us, not just corporations and the wealthy. | @seiu