Don’t blame Home Care for Maine’s closure on Gov. Mills’ budget.

I worked there from 2005 to 2009. While there, several colleagues and I shared our stories with the Legislature about low wages, lack of health insurance and the care we provided to elders in our communities. We asked the Legislature to increase reimbursement rates.

Back then there were several workforce studies and work groups conducted, to no avail. In 2009, because of four bills addressing long-term care through home- and community-based care waivers, the Legislature ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to study these. It became the Lean work group. I participated. Recommendations were made and a report went back to the Legislature in early 2010. Again, to no avail.

More recently, another study of the workforce was launched. Having left certified nursing assistant-personal support specialist work because I made around $18,000 annually, I told the director of Maine Council on Aging that this was a waste of time and money. Another study was not needed.

Wages remain low, many employers don’t offer health insurance and the work is grueling but rewarding in ways beyond the pocketbook.

Do the research. You’ll see the hearings, work sessions and work groups. You’ll see the 2009 Lean work. My name appears with testimony in those hearings, appears as a member of those work groups. I was Helen M. Hanson then.

Home Care for Maine’s closing illustrates the long-term failure of the Legislature, Republicans and Democrats, to support Maine’s elders and those with disabilities and the workforce that cares for them.

Helen Roy

China


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