Connecticut’s home care workers are continuing to fight to raise the minimum wage and also to remove barriers to full-time care. The problem many of these workers face, though, is that due to reimbursements and other limitations, they struggle to find full-time work with benefits and health insurance coverage. This makes it difficult, according to some, to continue providing care to those most in need.
What many of these caregivers can’t understand, though, is that while in home care is considerably more cost-effective than nursing home care, the state doesn’t provide the financial support to help pay for quality care at home.
One such case involves an in home care provider who began working with a client because she had a true passion for this work, but eventually found out that she couldn’t work for him more than 25.75 hours per week, otherwise the client would have to cover worker’s compensation expenses out of his own pocket. It wasn’t noted whether the state was covering in home care services through Medicaid in this particular case.
The state is working to find ways to improve working conditions and opportunities for these men and women, and training them on what their true responsibilities are.
According to Josh Kovner, reporting on this situation in Connecticut for the Hartford Courant in the article, Building a Career Ladder for Low-Paid Home Healthcare Workers:
“The aides, who only work with clients of the departments of Social Services and Developmental Disabilities, are learning to recognize Medicaid fraud. They are taught how to resist tasks that are beyond their scope, such as doing maintenance work in the home, or caring for another member of the client’s family. For the first time, they are learning more about the responsibilities that DSS and DDS have toward their clients. They are learning ways to better communicate with their clients, and advocate for themselves with the intermediary that is hired by state to handle payroll for the aides.”
Behind this push for improved wages and eliminating the worker’s compensation problem is Local 1199. The union has been working to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15, have the state set up a worker’s compensation fund so clients wouldn’t have to pay that themselves, and subsequently remove the barriers to full-time work.
As the state is facing budgetary constraints, along with many other states throughout the country, raising minimum wage, paying worker’s compensation costs, and become more challenging with limited funds.