The Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee is considering several bills that would boost the pay for those who provide direct care to Mainers with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“Shaughnessy also urged the Legislature to act quickly. “We need something now,” Shaughnessy said. “Not in a year. Now is when we need it.”
The pandemic has only exacerbated the longstanding reimbursement problem, leaving workers, agencies and those they care for in crisis, Shaughnessy said. The pandemic also has added to the numbers needing services, as restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus have increased the demand for behavioral health services.
Shaughnessy noted that some have said there are just not enough eligible workers in Maine to fill all the available direct-care jobs. “But that isn’t really the case,” Shaughnessy said. “The reality is, these providers cannot compete with other businesses that have increased wages beyond the reach of the current reimbursement rates.”