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.
- 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.
In Cooperation With:
THE DIRECT CARE WORKER CRISIS IN MICHIGAN IS WORSENING!
My name is Catherine and I’m a 26 year old woman with CP. I need help with several activities of daily living, from showering to cleaning to driving to places when buses aren’t available. The lack of quality, consistent direct care services limits me in many ways. I feel trapped because workers don’t want to stick around and I’m always worried about losing workers. I can’t finish my degree when I don’t know how I’m going to get to school and back. There are so many things I want to do and people I want to help. I want to become a social worker so I can help people in similar situations. I would love to help people born with disabilities and people who acquired disabilities during military service become responsible, reliable, hardworking adults and live a full and active life. I would like to move to Ann Arbor, but I can’t because if I leave Livingston County, I’ll lose the workers I do have, with little hope of finding qualified replacements. All of the things I’d like to accomplish depend upon reliable, skilled direct care staff. Wages for direct care workers are too low to make the work attractive.– Catherine Hein
My 76-year-old brother, Bill, lives in a 4-person unlicensed home in Oak Park. Staffing is with a long-established provider agency, but they are on bare-bones staffing levels (basically about 6 employees cover the 24/7/365 needs of the 4 souls living in this home). The ladies who work there are putting in a lot of overtime because additional folks cannot be hired since the provider can only pay $10-$11 per hour.
To make matters worse, my brother’s day program provider is ceasing all “facility-based” work and giving up their “deviated wage” certificate all due to the onerous HCBS rules being implemented within Oakland County. Our CMH/PIHP (“Oakland Community Health Network) won’t relent on its strict HCBS interpretations. My brother will probably be placed in some sort of “senior’s program” where he is taken out into the community to “volunteer”, or “experience” the mall, the park, the zoo, etc. ALL THINGS THAT HE ALREADY DOES! Please know that Bill has significant ambulation issues. He can be loud and also swears a lot. He also has bath-rooming issues too. The pay rates for the day programming aren’t all that much better; staff is difficult to find for this aspect as well. – Tom Kendziorski
I’m the executive director of the Arc Livingston and the parent of an adult son with a developmental disability. Finding and retaining qualified support staff is a constant struggle. Family members live in fear that because they can’t find reliable staff, they’ll end up having to quit their jobs and become the sole care providers for their loved ones, placing their families at risk economically, or worse, that their loved ones will be forced to move into a more restrictive (and costly) setting, such as group homes or long term care facilities. Over the last year, more than 10 Livingston County residents have experienced this due to the caregiver crisis. – Anne Richardson