Increased Payment Rates for Long Term Care Facilities & Restoration of the SWA

On Wednesday, December 29th, Governor Mills announced an increase in payment rates for long term care facilities to support 125% of Minimum Wage for Direct Care Workers. The Mills Administration also announced a proposed $7.6 Million for the restoration of the Supplemental Wage Allowance (SWA).
As part of the biennial budget to increase pay for direct care worker to at least 125% of the state's minimum wage, the legislature passed the minimum wage increase in a bipartisan effort to address the work force shortage. The implementation date of the increased minimum wage was slated to begin on January 1, 2022. DHHS had planned to delay implementation of the rate increase to nursing homes and residential care facilities until July. MHCA continued to advocate and seek clarity on implementation of the legislation. The Governor has now directed the Department to utilize $4.5 million of already appropriated funding to begin the increased payments on January 1, 2022 in line with the legislative intent.
Further, the Governor announced she is proposing in her forthcoming supplemental budget an additional $7.6 million to restore the supplemental wage allowance to assist nursing homes and residential care facilities with increased labor costs through the remainder of Fiscal Year 2022 (January 1- June 30, 2022).
“Today's announcement is welcome news as Maine's long-term care facilities continue the fight against COVID-19,” said Angela Westhoff, President and CEO of the Maine Health Care Association. “MHCA appreciates the Mills Administration's plan to expedite financial support to providers and their staff. Not only does it align with legislative intent, but it also reaffirms our collective commitment to supporting our dedicated staff who have logged many long hours during this pandemic caring for Maine's most vulnerable citizens.”
Finally, the Mills Administration also announced that the Department will waive the minimum occupancy penalty on nursing homes that are experiencing low occupancy rates.
To read the full announcement click here.
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