Posted by Direct Care Alliance on June 23rd, 2014 at 10:09 am | 21 Comments »
Dear Friend of DCA,
With your support, Direct Care Alliance has been the national advocacy voice of direct care workers for almost ten years. We can all be proud of what we have accomplished together.
Inspired by the vision of former Executive Director Leonila Vega, we built a nationwide advocacy network of direct care workers through the Voices Institute and other means. These worker leaders are eloquent about the value of their work and have a passion for improving our system of long-term services and supports.
We influenced legislation and regulation, taking important steps at the state and federal level to improve the health and economic security of direct care workers, invest in the workforce and enhance training and advancement opportunities. A key recent victory was the final home care rule extending basic labor protections–including federal minimum wage and overtime pay–to home care workers nationwide.
We developed a national credentialing program that is an important step toward building recognition of personal care work. We assisted many direct care workers in finding health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. We also provided technical and financial assistance to direct care worker state associations.
Unfortunately, the world has changed, and our income has decreased every year. The board has grappled with this over the years, trying to trim costs while maintaining services and supports for workers, but we don’t have enough funding to continue operating. We regretfully inform you that DCA staff operations will cease and our offices in Washington, DC and New York will close by June 30. Continue reading »
Posted by Dorothy Lee on May 5th, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Comments Off on Obamacare Gave Me Back My Medicaid Coverage
Dorothy Lee is a home health aide living in New York City who signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare), with the help of our Get Direct Care Workers Covered initiative.
I’ve been working for an agency here in New York for three years. Before that, I worked at a Ritz-Carlton in Florida. When I moved here I wanted to switch to working with the elderly. I like working with people, and when my grandmother was old I didn’t get to give her any attention. It feels good to be able to help other people’s grandparents.
When I worked at the hotel I had insurance through Aetna, but I started going without insurance soon after I started doing home health care. At first I had Medicaid through Health Plus, but they took it away because I was earning too much. They said I have to make less than $700 a month to get back on Medicaid. Continue reading »
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on April 17th, 2014 at 11:21 am | Comments Off on Helping Obamacare Work for Direct Care Workers
DCA’s Get Direct Care Workers Covered initiative has been helping direct care workers and other low-income workers in New York state get affordable health coverage through the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Hadas Thier, the Outreach & Enrollment Coordinator for the initiative, recently answered questions from DCA’s Elise Nakhnikian about how the new law is helping direct care workers–and what could be done to make it work even better.
Hadas Thier (R) doing outreach
How were you able to help direct care workers with health insurance enrollment?
Over the last six months, we’ve reached out to hundreds of direct care workers in New York with information and assistance. It’s been really important to have an aggressive outreach campaign because so many people do not know what the Affordable Care Act is, how its marketplace works, and how it applies to them. This is doubly the case with many direct care workers, who may not have access to information through the internet, who may experience language barriers, and who often are isolated at their jobs if they work in individual homes.
Most of the direct care workers I spoke to had heard of “Obamacare” and wanted desperately to have health insurance, but did not know how to go about doing so. Across the board, workers were grateful to have clear information about what coverage options might be available to them and their families. Continue reading »
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on April 7th, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Comments Off on Getting the Care I Need So I Can Provide Care
Valrie Broughton is a home health aide living in New York City. She started working in home care in 2000 in her native Jamaica. After getting health insurance with the help of our Get Direct Care Workers Covered initiative, she shared her story with DCA’s Elise Nakhnikian.
I started working in home care because of my grandmother. When she was ill, no one was there to really take care of her. I couldn’t take care of her properly myself because I had to take care of my kids and work. After she passed away, I decided to become an LPN in my country, Jamaica, so I could help other people in need.
I started working in home care in 2000. I only stopped for a few months when I came to this country last April and could not get work for a while. I love this work. I enjoy being around older people, talking to them, taking care of their needs, giving them hope.
Since I came to New York, I’ve been living with my son. It’s been hard on him because he has to pay back his student loan and support himself, and now he has to support me too. But last month, I found a home care agency that trained me for my U.S. home health aide certification. I passed the test this week, so they just hired me.
I went without any health care for many months after moving here because I couldn’t find anyone who would cover me if I wasn’t working. Continue reading »
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on February 24th, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Comments Off on Get Direct Care Workers Covered: A Home Care Aide Relieved to Have Health Care Coverage but Wishing It Were Even Cheaper
Beverly, a home health aide in New York City, usually works 5 days a week for 7 hours a day, but her hours—and therefore her pay—fluctuate, as they do for most home care workers. At just $10.58 an hour, she earned about $18,000 last year. For her first five years on the job, her earnings were low enough that she qualified for health insurance though Medicaid, but in 2012 she lost her coverage.
Beverly has high blood pressure and asthma, two chronic health conditions that get much worse if she can’t afford the medications needed to manage them. She also has to have mammograms every six months ever since abnormal cells were found on a biopsy. “You definitely have to have health insurance,” she says. Continue reading »
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on February 11th, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Comments Off on The State of Direct Care Workers
Carla D. Washington
“Everyone seems to agree, as the President emphasized several times in his State of the Union address, that people who work full-time should not live in poverty,” writes Direct Care Alliance Executive Director Carla Washington in the Huffington Post. But for far too many direct care workers, she goes on, “hard work does not pay off, except in the satisfaction it gives them and the relationships they form with the people they assist.”
In The State of the Direct Care Worker, Washington writes about how helping to improve wages and benefits for direct care workers, one of the nation’s poorest paid and fastest-growing workforces, is a powerful way to achieve goals the President outlined in his State of the Union Address–things like narrowing the income gap and making progress toward allowing everyone who works hard to share in the fruits of the American dream.
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on January 13th, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Comments Off on The New Face of Our Economy: Direct Care Workers
Jessica Brill Ortiz
Fifty years into the war on poverty, it’s time to focus on direct care workers, explains DCA’s Jessica Brill Ortiz in the Huffington Post.
“As we work to advance the goals of the war on poverty, improving the economic security of direct care workers and their families should be at the top of the list, because improving direct care workers’ wages, benefits and career advancement opportunities will let us accomplish three important goals,” writes Jessica in The New Face of Our Economy. “We can help ensure a stable, qualified direct care workforce large enough to meet growing demand. We can transform one of our fastest-growing job categories so that it bolsters our middle class and strengthens our economy instead of swelling the ranks of the working poor. And we can deliver on the promise of a nation where hard work is rewarded and respected.
Her piece outlines several current and pending policy initiatives that will help accomplish those goals.
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on September 30th, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Comments Off on One Day to Open Enrollment: Get Direct Care Workers Covered!
Download our press release.
Direct Care Alliance is thrilled to be joining dozens of community-based organizations across New York State in a campaign to help direct care workers and others get quality, affordable health insurance.
New York State of Health-–a simple and affordable way to get coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act–-will open tomorrow, providing a historic opportunity for tens of thousands of New York’s uninsured and underinsured direct care workers to obtain free or discounted health insurance. Continue reading »
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on September 13th, 2013 at 10:25 am | Comments Off on Register Now for a Free Webinar on the New Health Care Law
On September 24 from 12 to 1 p.m. ET, DCA’s National Direct Care Partnership will host a webinar titled The Health Insurance Marketplace and Its Impact on Direct Care Workers and Small Businesses.
The webinar will focus on the exchanges that are a key part of the new health care law. Participants will learn about anticipated challenges related to the exchanges, tips and resources for enrolling direct care workers and others, and tax credits and other things small businesses should be aware of.
Space is limited and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Register now to secure your spot.
Posted by Carla Washington on August 27th, 2013 at 7:08 am | 4 Comments »
Carla D. Washington
After four years at Direct Care Alliance, David Ward will leave at the end of this month. Please join me in wishing David all the best in his future endeavors and thanking him for all that he has done for our organization and the movement to improve direct care jobs.
While at DCA, David led our campaign in support of federal minimum wage and overtime protections for home care workers. He established himself as an expert on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the new health care law that will extend coverage to thousands of direct care workers, leading the effort to launch our new Get Direct Care Workers Covered campaign.
He provided strategic leadership and support for DCA’s organizing, advocacy and credentialing programs and worked tirelessly with DCA’s constituents, policymakers and other advocates to advance DCA’s policy agenda. Continue reading »
Posted by Carla Washington on July 29th, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Comments Off on Let’s Get Direct Care Workers Covered!
Carla D. Washington
DCA is thrilled to announce its new initiative, Get Direct Care Workers Covered. Thanks to the generous support of the New York State Health Foundation, Get Direct Care Workers Covered will help direct care workers and other uninsured individuals throughout New York State get health insurance through the New York State Health Benefit Exchange which opens on October 1, 2013.
The launch of the Exchange and expansion of Medicaid creates a historic opportunity to increase the number of direct care workers with health insurance. Get Direct Care Workers Covered is an education and enrollment initiative that will ensure that the benefits of health care reform reach low-income and immigrant communities. Given that approximately 2.7 million New Yorkers – including over 85,000 direct care workers – are uninsured, this is a critical development in our work to improve the health and economic and security of uninsured direct care workers and individuals throughout the state.
Continue reading »