Senior Care Workers Flee to McDonald’s for Higher Pay

The home care industry is no stranger to high employee turnover rates. In Texas, nurses are being lured away from their jobs in home health and skilled nursing to join a different industry entirely: fast food.

More and more, nurses are leaving their jobs to work at McDonald’s for higher pay, according to

“You can start of at McDonald’s at $13 of $14 dollars an hour,” Scot Kibbe, director of government relations for The Texas Health Care Association, told “It’s hard when there are so many much easier jobs that pay better.”

Texas’ long-term care facilities are underfunded, Kibbe said, and the state has one of the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates in the nation. Approximately 85% of Texans living in skilled nursing facilities rely on Medicare or Medicaid, and each Medicaid patient is underfunded by 14%—which amounts to a $300 million shortfall that skilled nursing facilities have to deal with, he explained.

This makes it difficult to pay certified nurse assistants, registered nurses and licensed vocational nurses competitively, he said. And the consequences of low reimbursement rates are being felt by those who require home health services, as well.

“You can make more money flipping hamburgers than you can helping another person,” Renee Lopez, a Texas who requires at-home nursing care, told the publication. “I think that’s a real shame because it means the people with disabilities in our community aren’t considered to be as important as getting a hamburger.”

Texas must increase funding to raise the reimbursement rate to guarantee long-term care services are available when required, Kibbe said.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

Photo credit: ‘McDonald’s’ by Mike Mozart is licensed under CC BY 2.0