Archive for June, 2012

Supreme Court Health Care Ruling Major Victory for Direct Care Workers

Posted by on June 28th, 2012 at 10:09 am | 14 Comments »

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its long-awaited decision this morning on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the 2010 law also known as Obamacare. The DCA has issued the following statement on the ruling.

New York, NY (June 28, 2012) – As the national advocacy voice of direct care workers, the Direct Care Alliance (DCA) applauds the U.S. Supreme Court for upholding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Court’s validation of this landmark policy ensures that millions of Americans—including hundreds of thousands of direct care workers and their families—will have access to affordable health care.

Continue reading »

What the Affordable Care Act Means to Me

Posted by on June 28th, 2012 at 8:36 am | Comments Off on What the Affordable Care Act Means to Me

David Moreau

I am a direct care worker at a day activity center in Maine for adults with developmental disabilities, where I have worked since 1998. I am married and have two children.

My job is a good job, and I don’t want to leave it, but I wish the insurance were better. I’m lucky to have health insurance through my employer, but my plan isn’t as good as it used to be. The contribution taken out from my paycheck is bigger and my coverage has decreased, making my health care bills bigger.

Also, this insurance plan covers only me. There is a family plan available, but it is prohibitively expensive.  Continue reading »

Let’s Help DOL Help Home Care Workers

Posted by on June 25th, 2012 at 9:06 pm | 1 Comment »

Secretary Solis

Last Friday, I had the honor of attending a forum hosted by the U.S Department of Labor (DOL) Women’s Bureau on behalf of the Florida Professional Association of Care Givers and the DCA. It was a great opportunity to tell them what direct care workers in Florida are experiencing and thank some of the people who are working to extend basic labor protections to home care workers.

The occasion was the first in a series of Working for Working Women events. These events are designed to provide an opportunity to discuss the challenges faced by working women and to publicize initiatives and resources offered by DOL to help women get back to work and protect their rights.  Continue reading »

Supreme Court Health Care Ruling Expected Soon

Posted by on June 25th, 2012 at 9:04 pm | 2 Comments »

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court held three days of hearings focused on challenges to the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, the health care bill informally referred to as Obamacare. Millions of Americans will be affected by the Court’s ruling on the Act, which is expected this week.

Direct care workers have a lot at stake. Approximately 900,000 direct care workers are currently without health insurance, which limits their access to affordable health care for themselves and, in many cases, their families. Recent estimates show that nearly 1 in 5 direct care workers depend on Medicaid.  Continue reading »

The Voices Institute Comes to Florida

Posted by on June 18th, 2012 at 2:10 pm | 1 Comment »

Florida Voices Institute attendees

Direct care workers from across the state honed their leadership and advocacy skills on June 14 and 15 in Haines City at the Florida Voices Institute, a state-level version of DCA’s intensive, interactive national Voices Institute training program.

The training covered both personal and professional development, with attendees learning how to make their voices heard in policy discussions.

Download a news release about the event.

Help Me Tell DOL We Home Care Workers Can’t Wait

Posted by on June 18th, 2012 at 1:37 pm | 2 Comments »

Clara Glenn

Earlier this year, the DCA sent me to a hearing in Washington, D.C. about the rule the Department of Labor has proposed that would guarantee us home care workers minimum wage and overtime pay.

The hearing was held by people who don’t want the rule to pass, so a lot of people spoke against it. One man who owned an agency said he couldn’t afford to pay overtime, and a woman who had been taking care of her parents at home said the same thing. But we need the overtime pay.

We need the money. That’s the main thing. And it’s just what’s fair. How would they like to do overtime and not get paid for it? Would they do it? They don’t worry if we get overtime or not, but I bet if we could swap shoes, they’d have a lot to say about it.  Continue reading »

New Mexico Direct Care Workers Hone Leadership, Advocacy Skills

Posted by on June 11th, 2012 at 7:56 pm | 1 Comment »

New Mexico Voices Institute attendees and instructors with Rep. Lucky Varela (in sunglasses).

“I left at the end of our two-day training with a feeling of accomplishment and hope, knowing the workers in attendance had committed to the cause,” says Brenda Nachtway, DCA’s national field director, of a leadership and advocacy training event she participated in last week.  “As one of the attendees, Fermina Lopez, put it: ‘Though I may not speak English well, I leave today knowing that, with the coalition and the DCA, I now have a voice. I will walk beside you in this fight to make change.'”

Brenda was talking about the New Mexico Voices Institute, a state-level version of an intensive, interactive national training program for direct care worker leaders that was held on June 7 and 8 in Albuquerque. To read more about it, download our press release.

How to Ensure Insurance for More Direct Care Workers

Posted by on June 11th, 2012 at 7:43 pm | 2 Comments »
Cindy Gruman

Cindy Gruman

A growing number of studies indicate that health coverage plays a powerful role in the recruitment and retention of direct service workers, with many workers leaving their jobs or careers due to a lack of affordable insurance. With that in mind, the Minnesota state legislature ordered a study in 2008 to determine how best to implement a rate increase aimed at allowing long-term care employers to purchase employee health insurance in the private market.

My colleagues and I at the Lewin Group and our partners at PHI conducted that study. In addition to conducting a review of the literature on health insurance in long-term care, we surveyed 772 long-term care employers and 910 workers—direct care workers, other caregivers, and those in dietary, maintenance, housekeeping and other departments. The recommendations we developed after doing our research apply to any state that wants to improve the stability of its long-term care workforce.  Continue reading »

DCA Joins the Friday Morning Collaborative

Posted by on June 4th, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Comments Off on DCA Joins the Friday Morning Collaborative

Jessica Brill Ortiz

The Direct Care Alliance is pleased to join the Friday Morning Collaborative, a coalition of national aging and disability organizations working to improve long-term services and supports for older adults and people with disabilities. The Collaborative emerged during health reform as a preeminent advocate for better long-term services and support.

Supported by The SCAN Foundation and led by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), the Friday Morning Collaborative continues to play a significant role in national advocacy efforts related to LTSS. It helped bring about Medicaid reforms important to seniors and people with disabilities, and is currently focusing on a variety of issues including protecting and enhancing Medicaid home and community-based services through implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Jessica Brill Ortiz, DCA National Advocacy Coordinator, will represent DCA on the Collaborative. “I am excited by the opportunity to ensure that the direct care workers’ voice is a part of these important and timely policy and advocacy efforts at the national level,” says Brill Ortiz. “I look forward to building relationships and support on common issues, including creating an empowered and valued professional direct care workforce.”

Hundreds Rally for Better Care at New York Care Congress

Posted by on June 4th, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Comments Off on Hundreds Rally for Better Care at New York Care Congress

The New York Care Congress that convened last Sunday in downtown Manhattan was the largest so far of the city-by-city gatherings being convened by Caring Across Generations (CAG) to build the movement to improve our long-term care system for the people who give and receive care. The New York City event attracted nearly 600 workers, elders, and members of disability advocacy groups and other organizations.

The most touching part of the day was listening to the stories told during the Sharing Our Care Stories segment. Direct care workers, domestic workers, and a young women who is disabled and whose husband also receives daily care all shared their stories, each one touching all of us in his or her own way.  Continue reading »