Governor Mark Dayton today helped celebrate a landmark achievement for tens of thousands of health care professionals who provide in-home care for nearly 109,000 Minnesota seniors and people with disabilities. During the 2014 Legislative Session, Governor Dayton and the Legislature enacted a 5% increase in reimbursement rates for home care workers, on top of a 1% increase enacted last year. Before these increases, the 86,500 Minnesota health care professionals who provide high-quality care for our parents, grandparents, and family members had not received a wage increase since 2009.
"Most Minnesota seniors and people with disabilities want to live in their homes, and still have access to the high-quality care they need," said Governor Dayton. "As our state's population ages, it is more important than ever to ensure we are attracting the very best health professionals to care for our parents, grandparents, and family members. Paying these workers fairly for their dedication and professionalism is essential, and I strongly support this increase."
From 2007 to 2011, Minnesota's provider reimbursement rate rose less than 2%, while inflation increased by over 10%. Stagnant wages have created significant hardships for home care providers -- straining their ability to care for our parents, grandparents, and friends and relatives with disabilities. In fact, many home care professionals in Minnesota have been forced to find second jobs, or find alternative positions in higher-paying industries.
Raising the wages that home care workers receive will help attract and maintain a high-quality workforce -- helping improve the lives and care options of elderly Minnesotans and people with disabilities. Ensuring our most vulnerable friends, neighbors, and loved ones have access to high-quality home care helps them live more independently, and avoid more costly and restrictive settings.
In addition to saving families money and allowing Minnesotans to live more independently, in-home care providers help ease strain on the state's budget. In fact, for every senior who receives care in their home instead of a nursing facility, the state saves an estimated $19,877 per year. And for every Minnesotan with disabilities who receives assistance at home, the state saves an estimated $10,864 per year.