Wisconsin Personal Services Association: Survey results released on National Caregivers Day an urgent call to action

The Wisconsin Personal Services Association released survey results on Friday, National Caregivers Day, that reveal dire cracks in the state’s in-home caregiving system. Data collected from 80 personal care agencies across Wisconsin found that 85% of agencies have turned away individuals in need of caregiving services during the past year due to a lack of caregivers, and 1 out of 3 agencies are considering leaving the Medicaid Personal Care program.

“We have heard from agencies providing services in nearly every county in the state that the direct care workforce crisis is harming individuals in need of care, and it will only get worse unless urgent action is taken,” said Todd Costello, WPSA legislative chair.

Other key findings about the impact of the personal care workforce crisis include:

·      100% of agencies say the Medicaid personal care rate doesn’t cover their costs

·      44% of agencies have 5 or more open caregiver positions each week

·      51% of agencies report turning away 5 or more individuals in need of care each month

·      Half of agencies have clients whose health has gotten worse due to the lack of caregivers

·      9 agencies are considering closing and 2 out of 3 are considering downsizing

“Agencies have said loud and clear that the solution to the personal care workforce crisis is a Medicaid reimbursement rate that covers the true cost of care. With the current rate, agencies cannot compete with employers like Kwik Trip, Amazon or other state programs,” said Costello.

WPSA is advocating for a 39% increase to the personal care reimbursement rate in the 2023-25 state budget to bring the rate in-line with the actual cost of care.

Personal care is provided in the clients’ own home. It is non-medical care designed to help older adults and people with disabilities perform activities necessary for daily living such as bathing, eating and getting dressed.