I can relate to Mollie Baldwin of Home Care for Maine regarding her comments in the April 27 newspaper article, “Growing Old at Home.”

My wife and I own a local home care agency. When we started our business in 2005, we accepted MaineCare clients until the low reimbursement and sporadic payments made it impossible for us to pay our employees a living wage and for us to make even a modest profit.

In an industry with a 72 percent turnover rate, it is essential to keep competent and dependable employees, as they are our representatives and their expertise our product. By maintaining a committed workforce, home care agencies can keep administrative and insurance costs at a minimum, thus ensuring a stable, profitable cash flow while keeping their hourly rates competitive.

Regrettably, we had to cease accepting MaineCare clients to concentrate on servicing individuals and families who could afford to pay privately for our services, or those who were covered by long-term care insurance and federal programs.

If more seniors who are financially able to pay privately utilized a licensed, insured agency that conducts criminal background checks, provides workers compensation and unemployment benefits, there likely would not be such a great need to increase MaineCare benefits.

Unfortunately, agencies must deal with the “underground” — unlicensed caregivers who are paid in cash, and have not undergone a vetting process. These people pay nothing into the system, very few receive an IRS 1099 form reflecting their earnings, and can be a financial liability should they injure themselves during the course of their work. Many have criminal histories or a poor driving record.

Donald Brann | Gardiner

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