Issues

Emergency Legislation: LD 967 / The Promise to Maine’s Direct Care Workers

Direct Care Workers responsible for caring for our most vulnerable citizens are struggling to make ends meet and leaving the workforce for higher pay.

The Issue

Direct Care Workers responsible for caring for our most vulnerable citizens are struggling to make ends meet and leaving the workforce for higher pay. Increase reimbursement rates so providers can pay direct care workers a wage above minimum wage and adjust the reimbursement rates annually. LD 967 increases rates to 2007 levels plus 10% inflation.

The Solution

People with intellectual disabilities and autism are at risk of losing services due to a severe workforce crisis caused by reimbursement rates that were repeatedly cut since 2007. The crisis is compounded by increased expenses, rising minimum wage and a low unemployment rate.

LD967 in 2017

The legislature raised reimbursement rates for the first time in a decade. This was a one year, temporary fix.

Who are Direct Care Workers?

People with intellectual disabilities rely on Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) to provide the services they need every day to live safely in their community. Many people with severe disabilities require support with toileting, eating and assisting people with medical conditions, such as feeding tubes and colostomies or taking medications.

Support for someone with a severe disability may include preventing them from hurting themselves or others when they’re angry or frustrated.

The type of person who chooses to work as a DSP is typically kind, compassionate, patient and willing to go the extra mile to advocate and care for those in need.

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