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State Qualified Service Providers say Show Me the Money

December 22, 2006

Bismarck, ND - It may not be a glamorous job, but to the people they help, Qualified Service Providers (QSPs) top the list of important people. They help the elderly and persons with disabilities stay in their homes by providing a variety of services, including taking care of household chores and helping with personal care. But when the governor's budget was released recently, it proposed only a 3 percent cost-of-living pay increase for QSPs.

Jim Moench of the state's Disabilities Advocacy Consortium says that's not only unfortunate, it's wrong. He says QSPs rightfully should receive pay increases that allow them to receive as much as others who work with the elderly and persons with disabilities.

"The wage is so low that it really is difficult for them to continue providing services without some sort of a catch-up and an equity piece. We're going to be talking with legislators about how much that should be and what that should look like."

He explains it's not that other long-term care providers are less important, but that QSPs play an important role in preventing or stalling people from having to get full-fledged nursing home care.

"Things like medication management or just helping them clean their homes or provide a meal. Those simple services will keep those individuals out of much more costly nursing homes or an institutional type of environment."

According to Moench, without raises, many of these in-home caregivers will seek other employment, and that could leave a big gap in the long-term care continuum.

Debbie Aasen/Eric Mack, Public News Service - ND