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Wisconsin to maintain independent private duty nurse wages

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has tabled two proposed measures to cut the pay of independent private duty nurses after complaints from patients, nurses and legislators.

The pay cuts were part of a proposal to trim Medicaid costs.  Approximately 2000 independent nurses provide home care to about 400 severely disabled patients.  Medicaid currently pays the bill for about half of those patients.

The proposed cuts included cutting pay 11 percent an hour for any hours worked over an eight-hour shift and five percent pay cut for “basic cases.”  The after-eight-hours cut was meant to decrease the number of long shifts, which some experts say may increase risk of errors.  Home health advocates, though, say that 12-hour shifts often make the most sense for both patients and staff.  Nurses and patient advocates were also concerned about the “basic cases” designation, since the proposal didn’t define basic care.

Source:  Wisconsin State Journal

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