Healthcare workers call for Medicaid expansion, Home Care Bill of Rights

Dedicated frontline healthcare workers, including home care providers, nurses and social workers, will testify at House Appropriations and Senate Finance committee budget hearings across Virginia on Wednesday, urging legislators to support Medicaid Expansion and the Home Care Bill of Rights.

The healthcare professionals, all of whom are members of SEIU Virginia 512, will call on the General Assembly to pass key provisions of the Governor’s proposed budget, including:

  • Medicaid Expansion
  • Training funds for home care providers
  • 2% rate increase for home care providers
  • Ending the harmful 40-hour cap and allowing home care providers to earn overtime pay like other hard-working Virginians

“This budget is a good step toward better home care for older adults, people with disabilities, and families across Virginia,” says Richmond home care provider Yolanda Ross.

Healthcare providers will focus on the need to pass Medicaid Expansion to make Virginia a healthier, stronger community.

Patti Nelson, mental health nurse from Loudoun County

“I love what I do because it allows me to give back to the community that has given me so much. However, I face serious challenges in my work. Years of budgets cuts and population growth have left us over-worked and under-resourced, struggling to meet the needs of our growing, diverse population. Medicaid Expansion would give us the resources to help people suffering from mental illness and opioid addiction.”

Rosa Nixon, home care provider from Orange

“As a home care provider, I only earn $9.22 per hour. I don’t have any paid sick days and I don’t have health care. I have job-related back pain because lifting people is difficult work, but I can’t see a doctor because I don’t have insurance. I went to the doctor a few years ago. I left with a $7,000 bill, which I’m still paying off.

“With Medicaid Expansion, I could finally go to the doctor. I could get the eye glasses I need. I could get the breast exams I’ve been skipping. It’s terrible to be without healthcare. I depend on the Lord to keep me healthy because I can’t depend on our current healthcare system.”

SEIU members will also speak about the need to pass the Home Care Bill of Rights, drafted by home care providers and consumers in 2016, to advocate for a better home care system for all Virginians.

Currently, home care providers working under Virginia’s consumer-directed Medicaid program earn just $9.22 per hour ($11.93 per hour in Northern Virginia) with no healthcare benefits, no paid sick days and no retirement benefits.

Dajahaee Smiley, home care provider from Virginia Beach

“I’ve been a home care worker for 6 years. I love what I do because helping others puts a smile on their face and in my heart. But I have no paid sick days, no healthcare and I’m not allowed to work over 40 hours to provide for my family. That’s why we wrote a Home Care Bill of Rights. We’re asking politicians to pass the Bill of Rights so we can help care for older adults and people with disabilities.”

Home care providers will testify at all four budget hearings today in Loudoun, Radford, Richmond and Virginia Beach. Hearings in Loudoun and Radford begin at 10 am. Hearings in Richmond and Virginia Beach begin at 12 noon.


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