If not now, when will we invest in Maine’s essential support workforce?

We urge the public to ask the state to fully fund L.D. 1573, An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Study Long-term Care Workforce Issues in the FY22/23 Biennial Budget.

It’s time to value and invest in the tens of thousands of Maine workers who provide vital daily supports and services to older people, people with physical, developmental disabilities, and people with behavioral health challenges, to ensure they thrive in their homes and community settings.

With a healthy state surplus and nearly a billion dollars coming to Maine through the American Rescue Plan Act, the time is now to raise MaineCare and state-funded rates to stabilize and grow Maine’s Essential Support Workforce. This is good for our economy, and ensures thousands of people and their families can get the support they need now. These Mainers can’t wait for the new rate system to be implemented, which will take years.

Thousands of Mainers are going without services.

• Each week, more than 10,000 hours of approved home care goes undelivered to Mainers because of our workforce shortage. The number of unstaffed hours has doubled in the last five years.

• There are currently 1,114 Mainers on the Homemaker Program (Independent Support Services) waitlist, and 240 current consumers have no staffing.

• There are nearly 1,000 older people and people with disabilities waiting to receive home support services under Section 63 and Chapter 11.

• There are 2,000 people with intellectual disabilities on waitlists for Section 21 and 29. They are eligible for services but can’t access essential care because the Program can’t hire enough staff.

• Long-term care providers must increasingly turn down new admissions due to insufficient staff.

We must fund this bill. Please contact your legislator today.

 

Crystal Bailey

Fairfield

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