Oregon Legislature Could Increase Oversight Of Long-Term Care Homes

Apr 5, 2021

An Oregon Senate Committee could vote as soon as Tuesday on a bill to establish safe staffing ratios at the state’s long-term care facilities. Problems with staffing became more apparent because of the pandemic. 

Summer Trosko joined with other Rawlin workers in going on strike in February 2021 to try to convince management to allow them to unionize. When that effort failed, she resigned along with 18 others.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC



Senator Sara Gelser of Corvallis is cosponsoring two bills that have to do with Oregon’s long-term care facilities. SB 714 would establish staffing ratios based on patient needs. Gelser said there’s not a one-size fits all approach.

“Ultimately, this is about the residents that live in these facilities and their right to have dignified lives, to be safe, to be comfortable,” Gelser said. “For them to do that, they need to be supported by staff and staff are exhausted.”

Gelser said with the pandemic limiting family members’ access to care homes, staffing issues have become more apparent as often family would help out with care. She added staff need more training, support and pay. 

Many of the staff who tried to unionize at the Rawlin Memory Care facility in Springfield have resigned. Some are working to help make changes at the state level. Summer Trosko was a med tech for 14 years, most recently at The Rawlin. She’s working with the Service Employees International Union to lobby for Senate Bills 714 and 703.

“They would change everything if we could get these passed,” Trosko said. “They’ll use an acuity based staffing tool where they’ll go by the acuity of the residents and decide how much staff we need based on their needs. And also give DHS more authority to enforce staffing regulations.”

Senate Bill 714 could be voted out of committee on April 6th.

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