Legislation that has been proposed in Texas could directly impact home care workers who support elderly and disabled men and women in the comfort of their home. This legislation could trim the budget that is dedicated to helping support these citizens who have various levels of difficulty maintaining basic care at home.
Medicaid spending in Texas for these programs came to $40.3 billion, with 42.5 percent of that being covered by the state, and the rest being paid by the federal government. According to advocates for the elderly and disabled, they understand legislators realize the amount spent on these programs, but may not fully realize or appreciate exactly what these programs do for their constituents.
Advocates are striving to make sure home care aides who help provide these invaluable services to allow people to stay at home maintain a living wage. In order for citizens to qualify for Medicaid support for home care, determinations are made based on income, disability, and age (being 65 or over).
As noted in the tdtnews.com blog, Home health care advocates seek wage increase for workers, written by staff writer Janice Gibbs:
““The whole point of the program is to keep people in their homes and out of nursing homes,” Cosner said.
Qualifications are determined by income, disability or being 65 and older.
People are advocating that attendants who provide home services for individuals on Medicaid should have a guaranteed wage, she said.
If an attendant can make more money flipping burgers, it’s going to be a challenge to keep them in the program, said Susie Marek, HOCTIL youth services director.
“Everyone on this is at risk of going into an institution, which is going to cost the government more money,” Cosner said.”
If people supporting elderly or disabled individuals in their home are not able to maintain a decent wage, they may be forced to cut back on the hours they provide to those individuals or seek other forms of employment. That can cause significant stress and strain, not just physically but also emotionally on those caregivers.
STAR+PLUS is a Texas Medicaid managed care program that is specifically designed to help those who qualify for Medicaid support get the services they need at home. It is a far more cost-effective option than nursing home care and other services, but if legislators simply don’t understand what home care offers (not just in the cost-benefit analysis, but also for quality of life and emotional well-being), they may be more inclined to try and cut spending in these areas.
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