1199SEIU demands free, on-site testing for every nursing home worker
Iselin, NJ—Last week, the NJ Department of Health issued a directive requiring every nursing home worker and resident be tested for coronavirus, an essential step towards eradicating the virus in skilled nursing facilities. The first round of testing must be completed by May 30 and those who test negative will need to be re-tested within 3-7 days. 1199SEIU supports this universal testing mandate but has significant concerns that certain employers are not providing on-site testing that is freely accessible to all workers, regardless of their insurance status.
Workers at some nursing homes have reported being told by management that they will not receive testing by the facility if they lack health insurance. Those without insurance have been directed to arrange testing elsewhere on their own time and expense.
According to workers, the following facilities are refusing to test workers who are unable to provide proof of insurance include: Sinai Post-Acute in Newark, Teaneck Nursing Center in Teaneck, ManhattanView Nursing Home in Union City, Plaza Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Elizabeth, Milford Manor in West Milford, and Monmouth Care Center in Long Branch.
“At a time when caregivers across the state are battling COVID-19 on the frontlines, many working extreme hours and still without adequate personal protective equipment, the onus should not be on them to find their own way to a testing site or deal with payment issues.
“Many nursing home workers cannot afford the health insurance offered by employers, and none should be putting themselves or others around them at greater risk of viral exposure by unnecessarily taking public transit to testing sites or waiting around in doctors’ offices.
“1199SEIU is calling on the NJ Department of Health to require that every nursing home provide, at their own expense, free and convenient testing to all staff. Nursing home workers are burdened enough as it is.”
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in New Jersey and nationwide. We represent over 16,000 healthcare families in New Jersey and over 400,000 total members throughout New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida, and Washington, D.C. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all.