Home care jobs often pay more than the minimum wage, while providing other benefits. At Care Advantage, those benefits include an “instant pay” option, educational scholarships and a career ladder that allows them to move from a personal care attendant to registered nurse.
Unless the General Assembly fully funds Medicaid reimbursement rate increases, agency-directed care for Medicaid patients might not be sustainable long term. This could create a gap in the care continuum at a time when our society cannot afford any fault lines in health care.
The General Assembly and the governor made laudable and important progress toward this goal in 2020. Despite the budget challenges caused by COVID-19, the commonwealth provided a 5% increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates.
Unfortunately, the 2% rate increase scheduled for next year does not provide nearly enough funding to make agency-directed home care sustainable in the long term.
Current rates already are low, making it difficult for agencies to pay caregivers, fund additional medical support and provide the training necessary for this critical part of the health care system.
As the minimum wage increases in the commonwealth, pressure on home care wages also will rise. This, in our view, is a good thing. As a company, we believe in a living wage for our employees.