An analysis of nursing facilities in New York State finds that, compared to facilities without labor unions, facilities with unions had:
- A 30% lower morality rate from COVID-19
- A 42% “relative decrease in COVID-19 infection rates” among residents
- Greater access to certain types of personal protective equipment
- A 13.8% “relative increase in access to N95 masks”
- A 7.3% “relative increase in access to eye shield”
Adam Dean, Atheendar Verkataramani, and Simeon Kimmel, “Mortality Rates From COVID-19 Are Lower In Unionized Nursing Homes,” Health Affairs (published Sep. 10, 2020).
The analysis was based on 355 (of 621) nursing facilities in New York State that had confirmed data on COVID-19 mortality for the period March 1 through May 31, 2020. Health care unions were present in 246 of the 355 nursing facilities that were included in the analysis. Researchers included residents who died of COVID-19 inside nursing facilities, not residents who died following discharge to a hospital.
The researchers described “Unionized facilities . . . [as] more likely to be for-profit, less likely to be associated with a chain, had lower LPN-to-resident ratios, and were located in more populous counties with higher per capita rates of confirmed COVID-19 cases.” The finding that better resident outcomes occurred in nursing facilities that were located in counties with higher rates of COVID-19 counters the nursing home industry’s argument that the “most important” factor determining COVID-19 is zip code.
Please go to: “Mortality Rates From COVID-19 Are Lower In Unionized Nursing Homes,” available at https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2020.01011.
American Health Care Association, “We Won’t Back Down” (Jun. 2020) https://files.constantcontact.com/64f0b60b701/f86b03a3-a859-4098-b6d0-3866c56672d5.pdf , discussed in “American Health Care Association’s CEO Issues Message to Members: ‘We Won’t Back Down,’” (CMA Alert, Jul. 16, 2020), https://medicareadvocacy.org/american-health-care-associations-ceo-issues-message-to-members-we-wont-back-down/.
September 17, 2020 – T. Edelman