Saint Paul, MINN – State Senator Alice Johnson (DFL-Spring Lake Park) participated in a rally on March 4th at the State Capitol to help raise awareness for the need to provide a 5 percent rate increase for Home and Community-based Services (HCBS) providers.
This increase would raise the wages of 112,000 Minnesotans who provide direct services to the elderly and our citizens with disabilities. According to Johnson, the median wage for these essential workers has declined by nearly 10 percent over the last decade. During Minnesota’s tough budget times, group homes and in-home providers took deep cuts and home care workers kept falling further behind in wages.
“Home and Community-based Service providers support people with disabilities in their pursuit of meaningful lives,” Sen. Johnson said. “However, the turnover rate for home care providers is about 44 percent in the last few years because people just can’t afford to work in this field.”
According to Johnson, the 5 percent increase would cost the state about $86 million a year. “I would argue that this is a smart investment because these workers support the elderly and disabled to be more independent, allowing them to stay in their homes and communities,” Johnson said. “Their home care services can save the state money by avoiding expensive institutional care, such as a nursing home.”