One of the prime topics of conversation with state legislators attending the recent Third House forum sponsored by the Marion-Grant County Chamber of Commerce was an initiative to get money added to the state budget that would specifically be used to increase wages for direct support professionals working with disability services providers.
Third House Moderator Alan Miller from Indiana Wesleyan University lead a discussion that was prompted by a question submitted by Jim Allbaugh, Carey Services’ president and CEO. Allbaugh and several other advocates — DSPs, caregivers, clients and other Carey Services staff members — were in the audience.
Disability advocacy groups have approached the General Assembly seeking $10 million in additional funding in each of the two years of the state budget. The $10 million would be specifically dedicated to increasing wages for front-line caregiving staff at agencies around the state. Disability services providers around the country are experiencing critical staff shortages in care-giving positions, much of which is attributed to low wages. For most agencies, the wage rates are directly tied to the reimbursements they receive from their states; most reimbursements are linked to Medicaid reimbursements.