Wal-Mart set to pay more than Medicaid?

An interesting story was published today, titled “Wal-Mart Gives 500,000 Workers A Raise.”

By February of next year, Wal-Mart will begin base pay at $10/hour. This means that starting wage at Wal-Mart, an employer who has received a great deal of negative press as a company that pays notoriously¬†low wages, will be the same, or in some cases more, than New York’s seriously outdated Medicaid reimbursement allows personal assistants in the State’s Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program to be paid.

It is time for New York to require fiscal intermediaries get reimbursed enough by the NYS Department of Health and its contracted managed care plans so personal assistants, often doing complex skilled nursing tasks like suctioning and wound care, can get paid a living wage. In most instances, FIs have only 10% overhead, meaning 90 cents of every Medicaid dollar go to wages and associated labor costs like worker’s compensation.

The Consumer Directed Personal Assistance program saves the state over $50 million per year when compared to traditional home care and institutional models of service. What else do these 25,000 workers (two-thirds of Wal-Mart’s total in the State, and growing) have to do to get recognized and paid appropriately? What does it say about the State’s desire to have an effective program that helps seniors and people with disabilities when they force them to compete with Wal-Mart, the Gap and IKEA in finding workers? Do they really want consumers to have independence and freedom, to be able to stay in their homes and control their own services, or do they want to “rollback” Olmstead and force people into institutions and out of their homes?

The 2015-16 budget must allow fiscal intermediaries to get reimbursed enough to allow consumers to pay their workers a living wage of at least 150% of minimum wage.  If it does not, we will have our answer.

Click here to read the full story about Wal-Mart’s wage increase at the Huffington Post.

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