HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A statewide advocacy organization says Pennsylvania’s seniors and their care providers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing critical funding has now been secured for nursing homes, personal care homes, and assisted living communities.

With Pennsylvania awash in surplus tax collections, Wolf on Monday signed legislation authorizing nearly $300 million a year in additional Medicaid reimbursements for nursing homes, or nearly 20% more.

The increase is said to have taken ten years to become a reality and will reportedly make a difference to 110,000 seniors and adults with disabilities by helping to sustain care and give immediate help to a financially at-risk sector.

That followed trade associations working out a compromise on staffing levels with Wolf’s administration and SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, a labor union that represents about 5,000 nursing home workers.

“This is a major step forward for Pennsylvania’s long-term care industry,” Wolf told a Capitol news conference after signing the legislation.

Officials say the money should boost worker salaries, staffing levels and retention while stabilizing the facilities’ finances and improving the quality of care.

The Medicaid reimbursement rate increase is the first in almost a decade in a state with one of the largest nursing home populations, trade associations said.

The trade associations had pushed hard for a rate increase, saying some facilities were closing or downsizing because they lose money on each Medicaid-covered resident.

But they also fought Wolf’s initial proposal last year to force them to boost direct care hours by 50%.

The agreement provides a modest increase in direct care hours — from 2.7 to 2.87 per patient per day — but sets minimum shift ratios for nurses and nursing assistants to patients.