Direct Care Worker Crisis

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50K Number of Direct Care Workers in MI 100K Vulnerable MI residents served 37% Current DCW Turnover

 

 

Effectively caring for people who have mental illnesses or developmental disabilities is an important job—one that takes a huge logistical, personal and economic toll.

 

Michigan’s Direct Care Workers provide much-needed personal care, training, emotional support and respite. They work around the clock to help people with disabilities live and work in their communities, addressing challenges in ways that require tremendous physical and intellectual strength.

 

Theirs is a singular mission: to ensure the people in their care can achieve their greatest potential, no matter how big the obstacles are.

 

But while nearly a million Michigan residents rely on the value Direct Care Workers provide, members of the profession are becoming harder to find, due to low pay, inadequate (or non-existent) benefits, and limited professional growth opportunities.

 

 

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Click Here for our guide to Hiring and Managing Direct Care Workers!

 

 

 

MICHIGAN’S DIRECT CARE WORKER CRISIS REQUIRES ACTION!

 

IMMEDIATE STEPS NEEDED:

 

  • An increase in Medicaid funding to provide for attractive wages for Direct Care Workers. Higher wages will increase the economic activity of the workers and the return on investment will be evident. Overtime expenses for providers will be reduced, thus cutting monetary waste in the system. An increase of $1.00 per hour would require an estimated $130 million in gross Medicaid funding, approximately 2/3 of which would be federal funds, and which would be substantially offset by the ROI. Shockingly, half of current direct care workers themselves qualify for public assistance due to their low pay and lack of benefits. (1)

 

  • Adoption of the other recommendations made in the 2016 Section 1009 legislative report, (see reverse), which will bolster Direct Care Worker recruitment and retention and improve the safety and quality of life of individuals with disabilities.

 

More than 100,000 Michigan constituents who have a developmental and/or mental health disability rely on up to 45,000 direct care workers to provide crucial supports and services that enable them to access their communities, work and live full lives.

OTHER STATES HAVE ALREADY PASSED LEGISLATION TO RAISE WAGES, INCREASE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND ATTRACT AND RETAIN WORKERS. MICHIGAN LAGS BEHIND!

 

Source: PCPID Report to the President 2017: America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis — Issued: 12/2019

 

SECTION 1009 REPORT RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION CHALLENGES FOR THE WORKFORCE DELIVERING THE MOST FREQUENTLY USED SUPPORTS AND SERVICES – 2016

 

Immediate Actions Needed to Improve Wages and Benefits

 

The Michigan Legislature and Governor need to make additional investments into all the named Medicaid covered supports and services to assure that:

 

Direct support staff earn a starting wage of at least $2.00 per hour above the state’s minimum wage. These investments and the starting wage rate should increase as the

state’s minimum wage increases and should include the mandatory employer costs (FICA, worker’s compensation, etc.) associated with employment.

 

  1. Direct support staff earn paid leave time at the minimum rate of 1 hour for every 37 hours worked (i.e., 10 days a year for full-time employment).

 

  • The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) should use its contractual authority to set Medicaid payment and reimbursement rates that provide sufficient funding to provide and maintain a starting wage rate of at least $2.00 per hour above the state’s minimum wage, associated employer costs, and paid time off to the direct support workforce.
  • The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and each Prepaid Inpatient Health Plan (PIHP) shall collect and publish data on the size, compensation, and stability (turnover rates and job vacancies) of the direct support staff providing the identified supports and services at least annually. The collected data shall be used to assess the impact of the funded wage increases on the wages paid, direct support staff turnover rates, job vacancies, service delivery, and the adequacy of the direct support workforce.