The Legislature Gives Underpaid Home Care Workers Some Long-Overdue Relief | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Legislature Gives Underpaid Home Care Workers Some Long-Overdue Relief

Posted by on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 4:19 PM

Workers who provide home care for seniors in North Carolina do a grueling, difficult job, and they’ve been doing it for very low pay for a long time.

In a little-noticed provision in the budget approved by the General Assembly—over Governor Cooper’s veto—they’ll get some relief. The budget increases the Medicaid reimbursement rate for in-home care services from $13.88 to $15.60 per hour.

Allen Freyer, director of the Workers’ Rights Project at the NC Justice Center, says this is a good first step. While the Medicaid reimbursement is paid out to the workers’ employer, Freyer says he’s confident that much of the increase will end up in workers’ pockets.

Bill Lamb, executive director of the nonprofit Friends of Residents in Long-Term Care, says low wages create huge turnover for providers, causing staffing problems that directly affect the quality of care seniors receive.

“When you can get more money turning over hamburgers at McDonald’s than you can turning people over in a bed, you’ve got a problem,” Lamb says.

According to an NC Justice Center report, the national average Medicaid reimbursement for home care is $18.82.

Representative Josh Dobson, a Republican from McDowell County, led the effort to get the increase. He says it was long overdue, with some caregivers who have been working for the same rates they had been getting before the Great Recession.

Dobson says that while the increase is still short of what is needed—by 2050, North Carolina will have more than 2.8 million residents over sixty-five— he’s optimistic that North Carolina will get there soon.
Lamb says nearly every older adult would prefer to stay at home as long as possible, as opposed to moving to a nursing facility. Home care, he points out, costs about half as much as a nursing home per year.

“Almost everyone will say their preference is to stay at home for as long as they can. Home care allows them to do that,” Lamb says.

Tags: , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

We held a Town Hall for Mr. Holding, told him over a month in advance and it was while he …

by Andrea Biondi on Constituents to Congressman George Holding: You Suck (News)

@SLAKFAC there is nothing fringe about the death of Heather Heyer. She's not fringily dead. She's smack dab in the …

by George Greene on Durham City Council Member: White Supremacists Rallying in Durham at Noon (News)

Most Recent Comments

We held a Town Hall for Mr. Holding, told him over a month in advance and it was while he …

by Andrea Biondi on Constituents to Congressman George Holding: You Suck (News)

@SLAKFAC there is nothing fringe about the death of Heather Heyer. She's not fringily dead. She's smack dab in the …

by George Greene on Durham City Council Member: White Supremacists Rallying in Durham at Noon (News)

Couldn't they have issued a statement that said "don't be an idiot"?

by JohnNC on No Funny Stuff During Monday's Solar Eclipse, North Carolina Officials Tell State Workers (News)

"If we don't pay attention to them (no media) they lose their power."

That horse has left the barn, …

by lxxxvc on Durham City Council Member: White Supremacists Rallying in Durham at Noon (News)

ammi, it is. My point was that these white supremacists are dangerous, and that they didn't have any right to …

by Marc Sloop on The Twitter User Doxxing White Supremacists Who Marched in Charlottesville Is from Raleigh (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation