Securing higher wages for Michigan’s direct-care workers is necessary to meet the growing demand for long-term supports and service and secure economic self-sufficiency for this workforce. Increasing workers’ wages depends, in large measure, on higher reimbursement for Medicaid long-term supports and services (LTSS) providers and holding providers accountable to passing those increased dollars to their staff.
PHI Michigan recognizes that identifying the resources to invest in this workforce is a challenge considering Michigan’s history of significant budget shortfalls and the drive to reduce state taxes. However, we do not believe that the answer to these challenges is to reduce or restrain reimbursement for public programs and services from the state budget without consideration of service demand and workforce needs.
What We Are Doing
- Researching the impact of the recently enacted Michigan minimum wage increase on workers’ wages across Medicaid programs and settings and sharing those findings with policymakers.
- Urging the Michigan Department of Community Health and local delivery systems and payers to establish reimbursement rates that allow for long-term supports and services providers to respond to the increased minimum wage and offer competitive wages.
- Clarifying mileage/transportation reimbursement policies within home and community based services programs to assure payment to direct-care workers.
- Developing tools and resources to assist policymakers in setting wage rates that consider real labor market costs -- wages, health care, and training -- and move towards stabilizing the direct-care workforce.
- Providing information and resources to direct-care workers and employers to help workers supplement their income by claiming the federal and Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit and utilizing free tax preparation services.