FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 8, 2018
CONTACT: Bryan O’Malley 518-813-9537
Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York (CDPAANYS) Recognizes International Women’s Day, Calls on Governor Cuomo to Raise the Wage for Personal Assistants
9 out of 10 Personal Assistants are Women
On International Women’s Day, the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State is drawing attention to the severely inadequate wages paid to Personal Assistants (PAs), who provide critical services to people with physical disabilities. Due to a decade’s worth of stagnant or even reduced Medicaid reimbursement, PA wages have fallen from a livable job to one that is playing catch-up with the minimum wage.
The non-partisan Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) has identified that 90% of home care workers in the United States are women. While the industry has doubled in the past six years, a refusal to raise reimbursement has frozen wages. Meanwhile, state investment in the #BFair2DirectCare campaign and higher minimum wage increases for the fast food industry has created growing competition that has created a workforce crisis.
“While I commend Governor Cuomo’s commitment to his ‘Women’s Agenda’, including tackling pay inequity, he once again ignores an industry of low wage workers overwhelmingly comprised of women,” said CDPAANYS Executive Director Bryan O’Malley. “At a median age of 45, many of these women are also providing for their own families and make so little that they qualify for Medicaid themselves. Using Medicaid to subsidize Medicaid is unconscionable, and those who work in this vital program deserve more from our elected officials.”
Mandated wage increases for fast food workers, as well as a quarter-billion dollar commitment in the Executive Budget to subsidize the pay of developmental disabilities community habilitation workers, has left CDPA consumers and people with physical disabilities unable to compete in the labor market. According to O’Malley, “Workers doing the same job are getting respect as part of #BFair2DirectCare, working with people with developmental disabilities; why are they considered not worthy of an adequate wage when working for people with physical disabilities?”
The inability to hire and retain a PA leaves seniors and people with physical disabilities unable to perform basic tasks many take for granted, such as getting out of bed or going to the bathroom. If wages are not increased and the workforce crisis continues, they will be forced out of their homes and the community and into nursing homes.
CDPAANYS is calling on Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to honor their spoken commitment to women and raise Medicaid reimbursement rates across the system, making it possible for PAs and home care workers to earn a decent living, and ending the workforce crisis that threatens to institutionalize people with physical disabilities.