Michigan’s Centers for Independent Living

Position Statement:
Long Term Care System Policy for People with Disabilities

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Summary:

People with disabilities and those who are aging want to have access to community-based services that they can rely on so they can live independently in the community and avoid needless placement into nursing homes. Direct care workers play a critical role in supporting the lives of people who have functional limitations as a result of age or disability, yet direct care jobs are often characterized by low wages, part-time hours and few benefits or pathways for career advancement. We must provide adequate funding and resources to this workforce.

Issues:

Chart: Direct Care Worker Median Hourly Wages

  • The direct care industry is expected to add 1.6 million jobs by 2020.
  • Michigan’s direct-care workforce of certified nursing assistants, home health aides, and personal care attendants provide 80% of the hands-on care and support to elders and people living with a disability.
  • Wages of direct care workers have not increased.
  • In 2016, 1,482 individuals moved OUT of nursing homes.
  • In 2016, 15,334 individuals received Waiver services.
  • Despite the demand for quality care and the rising need for caregiver supports, direct care staff are consistently paid significantly less than the median national average worker.

Recommendations:

  • Increase funding for DHS Adult Service Home Help Program.
  • Adequate funding for direct support professionals and family caregivers.
  • Access to healthcare benefits and training are needed to assure quality care.

Closing:

Michigan’s Centers for Independent Living encourage our Legislature to support a variety of home and community based living supports that provide opportunities for people with disabilities to remain independent, to age in place, and to access quality care.