As Republicans Release Partisan Report on Nursing Home Deaths, Essential Workers Demand Real Solutions to Industry-Wide Crisis
Nursing Home Workers Credit Whitmer Administration’s Aggressive Approach to Address the Nursing Home COVID-19 Crisis
In response to the release of a report from the office of the Auditor General around COVID-related nursing home deaths, Andrea Acevedo, President of SEIU Healthcare Michigan, released the following statement:
“The crisis in Michigan’s nursing homes is generations in the making. Following two years of trauma, grief and hardship, nursing home workers are demanding immediate change to tackle the industry’s growing crisis and keep our most vulnerable community members healthy and safe. Instead of coming together to find solutions, state Republican lawmakers are wasting time and taxpayer dollars, politicizing and misleadingly characterizing the results of an audit focused on technicalities around how deaths are reported.
Right now, we need leaders proactively driving toward solutions that ensure a crisis of this magnitude can never happen again. That is just what Governor Whitmer is doing. The Governor has taken important steps toward addressing the workforce crisis and ensuring safe, quality care for Michigan’s seniors. Gov. Whitmer set up a Covid-19 Task Force, advocated for pandemic pay for nursing home workers, and last month, Gov. Whitmer established the Nursing Home Workforce Stabilization Council, to bring nursing home operators, workers, and government officials together to collaborate on solutions to the issues that impact workers and the people they care for.
We have long defunded and devalued this workforce, which is overwhelmingly composed of women, many women of color. Since well before the pandemic hit, chronic short staffing, high turnover, racial and gender discrimination, lack of training and poor safety standards have left workers struggling to provide the quality care residents deserve. Covid-19 both exposed these long standing injustices and exacerbated them, with devastating costs.
In the face of fatigue, burnout, and stress, nursing home workers continue to show up, day in and day out, because they are deeply committed to their residents. We are proud to see this same commitment by Governor Whitmer, as she takes decisive action to fix what has long been broken in the industry and ensure that workers have a meaningful voice in decisions about how we move forward. Rather than engage in partisan antics, Republican leaders need to get down to the real work of helping Michiganders address this crisis head-on. The pathway to progress remains clear. It’s time to work together to make long-term investments in training, workforce stabilization and other steps to improve care for Michigan’s seniors and most vulnerable, lift up this profession, and enact meaningful, lasting changes that save lives. ”