Assemblymember Wallace: Proposed Investments in Healthcare Must be a Funding Priority

“I applaud Governor Hochul’s proposal to invest in and grow our state’s healthcare workforce. Hospitals and nursing homes have long been understaffed – an issue that was only made worse by COVID. Last year, I helped pass legislation to require safe staffing levels in hospitals and long-term care facilities. However, hospitals and nursing homes cannot adequately staff without an adequate qualified workforce.

“The Governor’s plan to invest $10 billion in healthcare, including retention bonuses of up to $3,000 for healthcare and mental hygiene workers, will provide the incentives necessary to recruit and retain these essential caregivers. We also need to ensure caregivers are adequately compensated for the vital work they do. I have long supported campaigns to raise wages for healthcare workers, including for those who care for individuals living with disabilities. To recruit and retain a qualified workforce of caregivers, we must compensate them fairly, which is why I’ve supported an emergency Medicaid rate increase of $260 million for nursing homes and the Fair Pay for Homecare Act to pay home health aides at least 150 percent of the minimum wage.Raising their wages not only helps us recruit more of these essential workers, it is also simply the right thing to do.

“I look forward to discussing some of the Governor’s other proposals, such as loan forgiveness for healthcare workers, reducing licensure barriers to allow more flexibility, and increasing the training capacities of healthcare institutions, as this legislative session proceeds.”