When Gov. Mark Dayton signed The 5% Campaign bill into law, the swipe of that pen ended a grassroots journey that began nearly one year ago for increased revenue for home and community-based services. (HCBS)
As a result of this legislation, providers of these services for people with disabilities and older adults will receive a five percent rate increase effective July 1, 2014. Eighty percent of the increase must be specifically allocated to compensation-related expenses for direct support professionals and caregivers.
“The 5% Campaign has maintained that life in the community is the first and best option for people with disabilities and older Minnesotans, as well as their families, workers and our state as a whole,” said Steve Larson, Co-Chair of The 5% Campaign. “While the State of Minnesota is supportive of moving more individuals away from institutional settings to receive care and services in their homes or community settings, the funding mechanism for these programs has not kept pace with rising costs. This $80.3 million investment this year in caregiving is a step in the right direction to recognize and value these essential serbyvices that allow people to continue living as independently as possible in the community.”
Larson said, the rate increase and its specific appropriation for caregivers will help reduce high staff turnover that has resulted from years of budget cuts and freezes to HCBS. While inflation rose 24.5 percent between 2003 and 2012, provider rates that pay for caregiver wages increased only 3.4 percent during that same period.
“We supported the specific dedication of funding for our employees as we know they are essential to ensuring a quality of life for those who benefit from home and community-based services,” Larson said.
One percent of the total rate increase is tied to quality improvement. Providers will be required to designate a specific quality improvement project that improves the quality of life of recipients in a meaningful way, improves the quality of services in a measurable way or delivers good quality service more efficiently to receive this portion of the rate increase.
Larson credited strong grassroots advocacy and broad bipartisan support from lawmakers for the success of the campaign this session. More than 120 organizations joined The 5% Campaign coalition to secure a rate increase, and nearly 75 percent of the elected officials in the Minnesota Legislature signed onto the legislation before the session even began.
“We sincerely appreciate the support we received from providers, caregivers, self-advocates, family members, and the more than 92,000 Minnesotans who benefit from these vital services. Our campaign at the State Capitol would not have been successful without their tireless advocacy and the broad support of lawmakers committed to recognizing and funding these important programs,” Larson said.
The 5% Campaign honored its legislative and grassroots champions at a celebration event on Tuesday, June 10 at the capitol.
This article was compiled by The 5 % Campaign.