Several Missouri legislators are among health-care advocates who on Thursday called on Gov. Jay Nixon to use his influence to increase wages for home-care workers, who now average $8.60 an hour.
Several legislators, including state Sens. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, and Paul LeVota, D-Independence, are seeking to increase wages for the workers to $11 an hour.
The minimum wages are set by the state’s Quality Home Care Council, which oversees home-care services provided for the disabled and low-income elderly under the state’s Medicaid program. The council’s members are appointed by the governor.
Nixon’s staff declined to comment on the higher-wage effort
The home-health workers provide basic services – such as cooking, feeding and dressing – so that their clients can remain in their homes at lower cost to the Medicaid program than being placed in a nursing home.
Backers of the wage hike say the extra money will come out of the Medicaid payments already paid to the companies who provide the home-care workers. Higher wages could encourage more workers to stay in the field, supporters said. Critics contend that higher wages could result in the companies hiring fewer home-health workers.
Nasheed was among the higher-wage advocates who spent part of Thursday working along-side home-care workers. Nasheed noted that her 91-year-old grandmother currently receives services under the program.