In an effort to recruit and maintain workers who are employed in the personal caregiving field, I’m offering legislation that would provide financial increases to those who assist the developmentally disabled. We have wonderful people who are receiving and offering the care, and funding increases in this area are long overdue.

My bill would provide a four percent increase in each of the next two years for home and community-based services (HCBS), state grant programs that serve people with disabilities and Intermediate Care Facilities for Developmental Disabilities. In order to establish permanency for direct care workers and adapt to the provider shortage, the bill also requires DHS to set an annual rate increase beginning in Fiscal Year 2019 to an amount equal to a provider’s annualized cost of providing single health care coverage to an employee.

According to the Best Life Alliance, HCBS is among the largest employers in Greater Minnesota. Current caregiver staff are overworked, and have a high turnover rate, and there are more than 8,700 unfilled caregiver and staff jobs across our state.

More than 80,000 direct care workers would benefit from this wage increase under my proposal. I am very passionate about this bill and believe strongly that we need to increase the amount of funding to people who work hands on with those who have disabilities.

This bill has been approved in the Minnesota House Health and Human Services Reform Committee. It now heads to the Minnesota House Health and Human Services Finance Committee for further debate.