Women make up nearly 90 percent of Michigan home care workers, who visit the homes of the elderly. They work for low pay and frequently require assistance themselves.
35 percent -Receive food stamps
34 percent- Lack affordable housing
22 percent- Live below the poverty line
11 percent-Lack a high school education
“People are afraid of entering homes and contracting COVID.”
Some people are afraid of getting COVID and then passing it on to a client and feeling responsible for it.”
“These workers provide hands-on, intimate, in-person care, putting them at high risk of COVID.”
We can provide all of the necessary protective equipment, but social distancing is not something you can do while giving a bath or assisting someone on the toilet.”
Despite the increased hazard pay, some employees continue to seek safer and easier jobs.
It is unconscionable to ask these people to do this high-risk work for what they are paid.
For years, Democrats have included wage increases for home health workers in their national platform, while President Joe Biden proposes a $15-an-hour minimum wage as part of his $1.9 trillion stimulus package.
However, the measures face opposition in Congress, with critics claiming that raising wages will have unintended consequences, raising costs for patients, the government, and insurance companies, and possibly leading to service cuts for the elderly.
They believe it could exacerbate wage issues in areas of the country where average wages are lower than the national average.
Raising Medicaid reimbursement rates for care, a more targeted approach to home care wages, faces challenges as the system struggles with funding.
The COVID-19 pandemic is increasing Medicaid enrollment and costs, resulting in a $550 billion shortfall through 2022.
Critics argue that rather than raising workers’ wages, cuts to the program are far more likely.
Meanwhile, industry groups estimate that Michigan has a shortage of 34,000 direct care workers out of a current workforce of about 120,000, which includes home health and personal care aides, as well as nurse aides.
According to PHI, a nonprofit policy and advocacy organization based in New York City, this gap could grow to a shortage of more than 200,000 workers by 2026.
Source; PHI is a national non-profit that advocates for elderly and disabled care. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2021/02/05/aging-michigan-faces-critical-shortage-home-health-care-workers/6657032002/