Raise Wages to Save Lives?

McKnight’s reported on a recent study showing that raising the minimum wage by 10% would prevent approximately 15,000 deaths in nursing homes per year, according to research. The study was published in the Review of Economics and Statistics.

The data on wage hikes show a definite improvement in outcomes and conditions in skilled nursing facilities. Raising the minimum wage makes sense. It will reduce the number of health inspection violations and incidents of preventable conditions such as pressure sores.

Research shows the average healthcare support worker earns $13 per hour. More than 62% of nursing assistants switch jobs each year. Improving wages would help attract more people to the sector.

While minimum wages could improve quality by attracting more productive workers or incentivizing greater effort, quality may worsen if employers instead reduce staffing,” wrote author Kristi Ruffini, an assistant professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University.

Still, the research underscores the relationship between compensation and resident outcomes.