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SB 19-238 Improves Home Care Workforce Amid Increased Demand for Personal Care Assistants

The Bill Will Strengthen and Enhance the Home Care Workforce by Improving Training and Wages, Bettering the Lives of Colorado Caregivers and Consumers

Denver, CO – Yesterday, lawmakers introduced a bill that will help ensure Coloradans who want to live independently at home have access to a home care workforce that is reliable, well trained, and adequately compensated. The bill is sponsored by Sens. Jessie Danielson and Dominick Moreno and Reps. Chris Kennedy and Monica Duran.

“It’s important that the home care workers whom we entrust with the care of our family members are well trained and fairly compensated for the hard work they do,” said Sen. Danielson. “Home care workers are skilled and caring professionals whose work is often overlooked and undervalued. Addressing the problems of the workforce is an urgent need for Coloradans receiving care across the state.”

Colorado’s population over 65 is expected to increase by about 150 percent by 2030 and demand for home care workers is expected to increase by 45 percent by 2026. But while consumers need experienced and well-trained care providers, the reality is that existing training requirements are not enforced, and the state does not provide a way for consumers to check whether their care providers are adequately trained for the job.

Despite increased demand, the people providing the care are struggling. They are paid poverty level wages, don’t get sick leave or paid time off, and many do not receive adequate training. Lack of job stability and low pay mean the home care industry has a hard time keeping workers.

To solve these problems, SB 19-238 will create a compensation passthrough, requiring employers to direct a minimum percentage of their Medicaid reimbursement rate toward employee compensation. It also improves state oversight of training and creates a means for consumers to check whether a homecare worker has received the required training.

“Home care workers need to be able to afford their basic needs in order to continue to have the compassion and energy needed to take care of others,” said home care provider Marilyn Sorensen. “We care for seniors and adults of all ages to help them live with dignity at home. But we need to be able to make ends meet to stay in this field.”

A new report released by the Colorado Fiscal Institute that presents an analysis of the home care workforce. The report, authored by CFI’s Chris Stiffler, details the low and stagnant pay of Personal Care Aides despite the increased needs for their services.

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