Since September 1, 2022 all nursing homes are obliged, to pay standard wages, or wages of a comparable amount. But in the Fuhneaue nursing home in the town of Gröbzig, which belongs to the city of Southern Anhalt, that did not happen – and did so until the end of 2022. Which is a clear violation of the law. “Many colleagues were very upset about this,” says one nurse. The boss said she couldn’t pay for it, there was no money.
However: In order to be able to pay the higher wages, the home has to demand higher prices from the residents, says Annett Rabe, the head of the private nursing home Fuhneaue to MDR Investigativ. These higher prices must be approved by the nursing care insurance funds. But the insurance company – in this case the AOK in Saxony-Anhalt – rejected possible renegotiations of the contracts. And, as Annett Rabe says, “on the grounds that it’s not enough to be able to make new contracts now!” She received the notification on August 31, 2022. The additional costs due to the higher wages from September are reasonable, said the cash register.
But Annett Rabe saw things very differently: “I said: I can’t, I can’t! Inflation is there, food costs money. People have to be able to keep eating”. According to Rabe, without refinancing from the health insurers, they simply could not pay the higher wages.
Borrowed to pay higher wages
Just under 40 kilometers from Gröbzig, the “Richterpflege” company operates two smaller nursing homes with around 65 employees in the region around Aschersleben. Here, too, the higher wages from September were not yet taken into account in the current contracts with the long-term care insurance fund.
So we took out loans for this and actually used the loans to provide interim financing.
“Everyone is happy, the whole of society said: There will be money from September 1st! And then there shouldn’t be any money? That can’t be!” says Stephan Richter, who runs the company together with his wife Jana. “So we took out loans for this and actually used the loans to provide interim financing.” This was the only way the two could pay the higher wages – which, after all, caused additional costs of 53,000 euros per month, as they say.