Thursday, March 26, 2009

Here's a Little Good News's not all doom and gloom in Oregon. We're getting some new blood into the old system...

State Leaders and Long Term Care Advocates
Will Announce 300 New Health Care Jobs
Through Use of Federal Stimulus Dollars

Legislative leaders and long-term care providers for elderly and disabled Oregonians will hold a news conference Friday at 1 p.m. in the Capitol Press Room to announce positive news among the doldrums of the economic downturn: how federal stimulus dollars and state dollars will help fund nearly 300 new certified nursing assistants positions across Oregon, improving resident care and safety at the state’s nursing facilities.

Funding for increased staffing at long term care facilities was first approved by the Oregon legislature in 2007 from recommendations from Governor Kulongoski’s 2006 Nursing Facility Staffing Commission, which found that patient safety was at risk due to low staffing levels. However, severe budget pressure from the current revenue shortfalls jeopardized the second phase, scheduled to kick in Wednesday (4/1/2009).

Through the use of increased federal dollars into the Oregon Medicaid program through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act these critical new positions are now affordable – and will add 300 positions at a time when the state unemployment rate is increasing rapidly. The positions are funded through increased payments through Medicaid to the nursing facilities based on the number of patients. That increased match made it possible for Ways and Means Co-Chairs Peter Buckley and Margaret Carter to protect the new positions in the 07-09 rebalance.

Expected to attend the Friday news conference are Senate President Peter Courtney, House Speaker Dave Hunt, Dr. Bruce Goldberg (director of the Department of Human Services), representatives of AARP, SEIU and the Oregon Health Care Association.

Information will also be provided on how Oregonians can apply for the certified nursing assistant jobs created under the program.

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