Advocates Rally at Capitol for More Provider Pay
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
With key deadlines approaching at the Iowa statehouse, advocates are calling on lawmakers to provide better wages for direct service professionals, the health care workers who support people with disabilities in the community.
At an average of about $14 an hour, the pay is poor and the work notoriously challenging, which makes it hard for providers to attract and retain workers in the field.
Mona Kenyon, CEO of Iowa City-based Systems Unlimited, a health care provider, they are 98% Medicaid funded, so companies like hers are calling on the state for higher reimbursement rates.
"People have other opportunities," Kenyon acknowledged. "We don't get the applications. We don't keep staff. It's a constant revolving door. So we're pushing to draw awareness and to say this is a real problem. "
Currently, 96% of provider agencies in Iowa have vacancies for direct service professionals.
Kenyon pointed out companies like hers often compete for workers with fast food restaurants because of the low pay, but noted the work providers do is valuable for people with disabilities and helps them stay in their homes.
"It can range depending on the needs," Kenyon explained. "People need assistance with personal care, with bathing, getting ready for their day, getting ready to go to work. Other people need help with grocery shopping, balancing their checkbook. So, it really does range, but without the direct support professionals, services cannot be provided."
To attract and retain more direct service professionals, Iowa's lawmakers are considering House File 264, which would eliminate the state income tax for in-home health care providers, saving them up to $1,300 a year.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
A bill in Congress with a Connecticut House sponsor aims to reduce child labor in the United States. Called the "Children Harmed in Life-Threatening …
As the opioid crisis continues, more New Hampshire grandparents are seeking financial help to raise their grandchildren. Already struggling with the …
As of Jan. 1, insulin will become a lot more affordable for many Nebraskans, and those who have come to rely on telehealth visits are more likely to …
Some state and local lawmakers are on a long list calling on New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to require big oil companies to help offset the costs of …
Utilities and government agencies in the U.S. are carrying out plans to transition to cleaner electricity sources. To avoid being left behind…
Health and Wellness
November has been Diabetes Awareness Month - but heading into the holidays, people who are diabetic know they can't lose their focus on keeping it in …
Conservation groups are celebrating a long-fought battle to protect the dwindling population of wolverine in the Northwest and northern Rockies…
As world leaders gather in Dubai for the international conference on climate change, the City of Long Beach is acting on multiple fronts to help the …