Don’t blame Home Care for Maine’s closure on Gov. Janet Mill’s budget. I worked at this agency from 2005-2009. While there, several colleagues and I shared our stories with the Legislature about low wages, lack of health insurance, and the care we provided to elders in our communities. We asked the Legislature to increase the reimbursement rate.

Back then there were several workforce studies and work groups conducted, all to no avail. In 2009, spurred by four bills addressing long-term care through home- and community-based care waivers, the Legislature ordered DHHS to study these waivers. It became known as the Lean work group. I participated. Recommendations were made, and a report went back to the Legislature in early 2010. Again, to no avail.

More recently, another study of the workforce was launched. I was not a part of this, having left CNA/PSS work after only making around $18,000 annually. I told the director of Maine Council on Aging that this was a waste of time and money. Studies were done without changes for the direct care workforce.

Their wages remain low, many employers don’t offer health insurance, and the work is grueling, though rewarding in ways beyond the pocketbook.

Do the research. You’ll see the bills, the hearings before the committees of Health and Human Services and Insurance and Financial Services, the work sessions and work groups. You’ll see work groups conducted by the Bureau of Insurance. You’ll see the 2009 Lean work.

Home Care for Maine’s closing illustrates the long-term failure of the Legislature, Republicans and Democrats, to support Maine’s elders and those with disabilities and the workforce that cares for them.


Helen Roy


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