|Posted:||November 19, 2019 11:00 AM|
|From:||Representative Austin A. Davis and Rep. Daniel J. Deasy, Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, Rep. Harry Readshaw|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Wage Board Legislation|
|Pennsylvania has 219,000 direct care workers, the vast majority of whom work in Long Term Support Services funded via the state’s Medicaid program – either directly or through their employment with a home care agency or nursing facility. Direct care work is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in our State. Still, the work is also among the lowest paid in our state with a median wage of $12.38 per hour across all DCW professions and as low as a starting average wage of $9.73 for personal care aides. Forty-six percent of home care workers and 30 percent of personal care aides in Pennsylvania are recipients of public assistance such as Medicaid and food stamps because wages are so low.
In addition, the work is physically and emotionally demanding. Home care workers are isolated, with no common workplace, and many face language barriers that exacerbate that isolation. The poor quality of direct care jobs leads to high turnover and chronic workforce shortages.
According to the bipartisan Pennsylvania Long Term Care Council’s 2019 Blueprint for Strengthening Pennsylvania’s Direct Care Workforce, we will need an additional 36,000 direct care workers by 2026 to meet growing demand, not including existing vacancies, and those workers need a pathway to making these good, family sustaining jobs.
To solve this problem, in the near future, we will be introducing legislation that would direct the state’s Secretary of Human Services to create a long term care standards board as part of the state’s Medicaid rate setting process. This board would meet every three years to ensure that the wages being paid to direct care workers are sufficient to maintain a strong workforce that can deliver the highest quality of care.
The Board would:
Introduced as HB2640