The following article was published in the Everett Herald on June 4, 2017 as a concern over the State of Washington recent budget cuts related to home health care.
In this article, Jim Lord who started and currently runs First Choice In-Home Care expresses his concern over the recent Washington State House and Senate Budget that will dramatically impact the quality of care that organizations such as First Choice can provide.
In this article, Mr. Lord identifies that the Senate budget failed to fund the raises and benefits negotiated by state-paid caregivers, which would gradually raise the wages for all caregivers to a living wage of at least $15 and hour by 2019. The Senate budget also proposes a $28 million cut to current health benefits, which will force large increases to out-of-pocket costs for our low-wage direct care employees.
He further goes on to identify that the House came closer to meeting the necessary needs. That it fully funds home care worker health care benefits and the home care union contract to ensure a stable workforce. Unfortunately, the House failed to fund the small increase in the reimbursement rate paid to home care agencies, which is a much-needed restoration of funds cut during the 2008 recession.
If Washington State does not come together and recognize the situation, the impact will be felt in with our seniors, our vulnerable adults and children and our caregivers provide service too to ensure a future that is responsive and respectful to their needs.