It’s time to invest in the tens of thousands of Maine workers who provide vital daily supports and services to older people; people with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and people with behavioral health challenges, to ensure they thrive in their homes and community settings. L.D. 1573 does that.

Weekly, at SeniorsPlus, we cannot find 10,000 hours of personal care coverage. This means older Mainers and people with disabilities are going without care that they are qualified to receive. Most of them are at risk of being seen in a hospital or moved unnecessarily to nursing home care. (These also have staffing shortages.)

COVID has shined a bright light on the crisis. The current workforce is running on fumes, and discouraged and exhausted staff are leaving for higher-paying and lower-risk positions. This very important worker base has been ignored and underpaid for years. Now thousands of Mainers are going without services.

• There are currently 1,114 older Mainers on the Homemaker Program (Independent Support Services) waitlist, and 240 currently enrolled people have no staffing.

• Nearly 1,000 older people and people with disabilities are waiting to receive home support services under Section 63 and Chapter 11.

• Two thousand people with intellectual disabilities are on waitlists for services under sections 21 and 29. They are eligible for services but can’t access essential care because programs can’t hire enough staff.

• Over 600 children are on waitlists for Section 65 home and community treatment.

It is time! I urge passage of L.D. 1573.

Betsy Sawyer-Manter
CEO, SeniorsPlus
Portland

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