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The Importance of Caregivers

"'I and a number of colleagues are saying we ought to be doing this and we ought to be doing a lot more than five percent more,' said Sen. John Marty (D-Roseville). 'We ought to be giving people living wages and people who care for other human beings, that's the most valuable job in our society.'"

KSMP reported a story about legislators home care clients' homes to see firsthand the impact that PCAs have on the lives of those they care for. Hearing clients tell their stories about the importance of the services they receive shows how vital it is for these home care workers to receive a pay increase.

Click here to watch the news segment and read the article. 

Meeting the Demand

Despite the diligent efforts of many supporters and the backing by many legislators, there was not a reimbursement rate increase for home and community based services this year. The pay that home care agencies are able to give frontline caregivers is directly dependent on the rate at which they are reimbursed for services provided. Although in recent years, some healthcare settings such as nursing homes have received substantial reimbursement rate increases, home and community based services are still in desperate need of catching up.

According to the Best Life Alliance, a 5% reimbursement rate increase in Minnesota’s 2016 legislative session would have given 73,000 people with disabilities and 35,000 older adults more consistent care. It also would have given 99,000 caregivers and staff better compensation, and ultimately affected hundreds of thousands of Minnesota families. The gap between the demand for services and supply of available caregivers continues to grow. However, home and community based services are becoming the preferred types of healthcare, elevating the need for change in the industry to meet the growing demand.

DHS: Opinions Wanted

The Minnesota Department of Human Services is helping to find a solution to the caregiver shortage we are facing in the Midwest. As part of that effort, they have created two surveys to gather information about workforce shortage of direct care and support workers in our state. In order to help identify solutions to the issues our industry is facing, we all have to work together.

The wellbeing of children, adults, and families in need of healthcare services depends on creative and innovative solutions. We are continuing to work diligently to improve the industry and healthcare in general. The surveys that the Department of Human Services are conducting have potential to be incredibly beneficial, as everyone’s views and opinions can be heard.

2016 Minnesota Legislative Update

MinnesotaCapitolBuildingDespite the diligent efforts of many supporters and the backing by many legislators, the proposed rate increase for Home and Community Based Services did not make it to the final budget agreement to be passed in the latest Minnesota legislative session. Although this was very disappointing news, it was encouraging to see many legislators support the rate increase for these services. We hope this support will continue to grow as we begin looking towards the 2017 legislative session.

Accurate Home Care is committed to working diligently to improve our industry as a whole. A big part of this effort is working with legislators to increase awareness of the need for a rate increase and regulation changes. The growing need for home care services continues to put pressure on the industry to adjust business practices so that the demand can be met despite the shortage of caregivers and low reimbursement rates. We are writing bills with legislators that will help meet the increasing demand for in-home care. One bill that we are working to get passed next year would allow for additional licensees, such as Medical Assistants, Paramedics, and EMTs to work as caregivers for home care clients. This bill is a top priority for the 2017 legislative session, as we believe it will allow clients to get the care they need. 

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

Today, May 5th, 2016 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. The SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) is holding a national event in Washington DC called “Finding Help, Finding Hope.” They are set to discuss how communities can offer more support for people of all ages experiencing mental or substance use disorders.

A big emphasis of the event is working together as communities to increase awareness of mental health barriers, and how to work as a team to help overcome them and promote openness. In addition to discussing ways to work together, a big focus is simply educating the public about mental health.

Working to Improve the Industry

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A large part of improving the home healthcare experience for clients and employees alike is doing everything we can to make the industry better as a whole. We make it a priority to partner with legislators and other organizations to work towards continual improvement.

This week, our Founder and CEO, Amy Nelson and Director of Home Care Nursing, Megan White met with Representative Matt Dean at a client’s home to discuss what in-home healthcare means for families like theirs.

Kari, the mother of our client, Danna, talked about how much it means to have nurses who know exactly what her daughter needs. “We’re so fortunate to have nurses like DeAnn, who has been with us for a long time and knows Danna. I don’t have anything against hospital nurses, but anytime we’re there, we rush home to our nurses who know everything about Danna’s care.”

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