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Monday, July 15, 2024

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NBC News reports rooftop where gunman shot at Trump was identified as a security vulnerability; Judge Cannon dismisses classified documents case against Trump; UTA professors refuse to comply with Title IX of abortion law; smaller ranchers voice concerns about USDA electronic tag mandates.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Low wages, burnout cited for ME direct-care worker shortage

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Monday, June 24, 2024   

A critical shortage of direct care workers in Maine is leaving residents without needed health services, according to a new report.

It showed more than 23,000 hours of approved home care for older adults go undelivered each week, while waitlists for behavioral health care have grown into the thousands.

Arthur Phillips, analyst at the Maine Center for Economic Policy, said low pay and poor benefits make it tough to retain enough workers to meet demand.

"Even if you feel really dedicated to the work that you do and the people who you serve, if it's having negative impacts on your own life, then you're faced with a tough choice," Phillips pointed out. "I think a lot of people are leaving."

It is estimated the state needs to hire more than 2,300 direct-care workers just to meet existing needs. Phillips argued the state should raise its median wage for workers to at least 140% of the minimum wage to remain competitive or just under $20 an hour.

Maine already has the oldest population in the U.S. and the share of people age 65 or older is projected to grow to nearly 30% by 2050. AARP Maine estimates more than 160,000 unpaid caregivers, including family and friends, are currently filling the state's health care gap for the age group.

Phillips noted it can lead to greater stress on everyone and a loss of economic activity for the state.

"While we think that this will require significant resources and that this group of workers should be prioritized, I think it's also true that the costs of inaction are far greater," Phillips emphasized.

Phillips added the legislature raised the reimbursement rate for direct care workers in 2021, allocating some $120 million for recruitment and longevity bonuses, and needs to take action again. He recommended the state improve its data systems to get a clearer picture of Maine's health care needs, including both direct care workers and those they serve in the process of policy changes to ensure all needs are met.


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"I truly love our Country, and love you all, and look forward to speaking to our Great Nation this week from Wisconsin," wrote Former President Donald Trump on social media. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

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