The Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care has been feeling the squeeze as Medicaid rates have not been increased since 2008. Under legislation introduced in the House by Representative Shekarchi and the Senate by Senator Doyle those rates could be increased by 40 percent, bringing RI into parity with Massachusetts and Connecticut. Proponents estimate the cost of this increase will be about $9 million, and will fetch equivalent funds from the Federal government.
Those at the rally were not happy with Governor Raimondo’s 7 percent “wage-pass through” which is too little for workers and not something Nicholas Oliver, executive director of the Partnership, thinks the companies can provide. Many of the companies are struggling to survive, and the small wage increase Raimondo is suggesting may be swallowed up by the companies and “never reach the home health care workers as intended.”
Lee Ann Quinn, a nurse and home health care provider has a 17 year old son named Zachary who is wheelchair bound due to a progressive neuro-muscular disease. “It’s a really sad day,” said Quinn, “when one of my son’s home health care aids comes to my home and tells me ‘you know they’re paying $10.25 at McDonald’s and they don’t have to do any of the things I do…'”