WA Caregivers Look to Lawmakers for Help with Worker Shortage
Monday, January 9, 2023
There is a shortage of in-home caregivers in Washington state, but a union representing workers hopes state lawmakers will be able to make changes this session.
Service Employees International Union Local 775, which represents individual in-home caregivers in the state, is asking lawmakers to fully fund the home care rate for workers who have clients on Medicaid, which would bring their starting wages to more than $21 per hour.
Gwen Goodfellow, an individual in-home care provider and member of SEIU 775, said the change would benefit workers and their children.
"Fully funding that rate would make the wages competitive, and it would also allow for dependent care coverage, which we don't have right now," Goodfellow pointed out.
Dependent health care coverage could help fill coverage gaps for an estimated 1,500 uninsured dependents of home-care workers, according to SEIU 775. Gov. Jay Inslee's budget included full funding of the home care rate.
Across the country, 94% of Area Agencies on Aging have seen an increase in the number of older adults requesting services but have struggled to find the workforce to cover the demand, according to USAging.
Goodfellow contended an increase in wages and benefits could alleviate the issue of a lack of workers.
"It not only will help current caregivers, it will bring new caregivers into the profession," Goodfellow explained. "And in turn, it will help those clients who are waiting for help by addressing our caregiver shortage."
The updated health care rate was determined by a state rate-setting board last year. It will ultimately be part of the state budget. The legislative session begins today.
get more stories like this via email
The coalition known as "Think Babies Michigan" has secured more than $36 million in funding to offer grants to child-care providers for infants and to…
Nearly 100 school board elections are coming up in Minnesota this fall, with some gaining attention because of the candidates who are running…
The so-called conservative "hostile takeover" of a small, progressive liberal arts college in Florida is seeing some resistance from former students …
High rent prices are draining the budgets of many Nebraska renters, who are paying between 30% and 50% of their income on rent. In some parts of the …
Indigenous leaders are traveling through the Northwest to highlight the plight of dwindling fish populations in the region. The All Our Relations …
Washington performs well in a new report scoring states' long-term care systems. The Evergreen State ranked second in AARP's Long-Term Services and …
A lack of housing options, mental-health challenges and a lack of connections and support have combined to drive an uptick in the number of foster …
Connecticut advocates are keen to see what will come from the recently established White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention. The new office …