Column: Missouri Home Health Providers Need Greater Wage Bump
Raising the minimum wage for Missouri’s 13,000 union home health care workers beyond the Missouri Home Care Union’s proposed $11 an hour is still not enough, argues the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in a recent editorial.
On average, Missouri’s union home health care workers make $8.60 an hour, with Medicaid usually providing the funding. The Missouri Home Care Union has a statewide campaign underway to raise the minimum to $11 an hour.
“[Eleven dollars an hour] doesn’t seem enough for someone who comes into the home of a person who cannot care for himself and bathes, grooms, cooks and cleans for them, but it’s what the union is seeking,” says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, adding that a minimum wage increase wouldn’t come out of Missourians’ pockets. “The proposal would reduce the amount the companies that hire the workers are allowed to keep. Overall cost to the state would remain the same.”
The Missouri Legislature appropriates $15.56 an hour from the state’s Medicaid program for the vendors who pay the home health care attendants. That means each vendor keeps $6.96 — nearly 45% — of the money it gets for a home health care attendant.
The amount vendors are able to keep is excessive, Jeffrey Mazur of AFSCME, co-chair of the Missouri Home Care Union, tells the publication.
“That’s far above and beyond what their administrative costs are,” Mazur says. “The lower the wage stays, it puts the program at risk. If you artificially depress the wage rate, it destablizes the industry.”
People who use home health care workers’ services also propose a wage increase, Mazur says.
The union is in the midst of negotiations with the Missouri Quality Home Care Council, a board made up of gubernatorial appointees that sets a wage floor with the vendors. All the details for a contract with the attendants and the vendors have been agreed to except for the minimum hourly wage.
Read the full article here.
Written by Cassandra Dowell