Pediatric home care nurses set to get a raise, but pay still lags

Written by on December 16, 2021

Pediatric home care nurses set to get a raise, but pay still lags

By Chloe Nouvelle
December 16, 2021

Pennsylvania pediatric home care nurses are set to receive a raise next month. But even with the additional income, their pay will still be far behind that of many hospital nurses.

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Home care advocates say Medicaid’s current pay structure in the commonwealth values home-based nursing less than hospital-based nursing, and that has left families of children with profound medical needs without the care they need.

“We continue to have to deny 58% of all our referrals,” said Dave Totaro, chief government affairs officer at Bayada Home Health Care.

Totaro said agencies like his are still waiting on the $5-per-hour increase for private duty nursing that was passed by the state legislature in June, as that raise isn’t due to go into effect until Jan. 1. 

Totaro explained the raise would increase Bayada’s private duty nurse pay in Pennsylvania to around $30-35 an hour, but that is still much lower than the rates of many hospital-based nurses. 

“We’re competing in a talent war right now where hospitals are offering nurses $30,000 sign-on bonuses and they’re offering $75 per hour for a nurse just to administer vaccines,” said Totaro.  

Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services recently received “conditional approval” from the federal government for its plan on how to spend $1.2 billion in COVID-19 relief aid it received for Medicaid home and community-based services. 

Totaro said agencies like his have been led to believe some of the new Medicaid funding will go towards an additional pay rate increase for private duty nurses but it’s not a certainty.

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