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State of California Medi-Cal Caregivers Found To Be Living In Or Near Poverty

April 14, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 106

The population in the state of California is aging rapidly and this has led to an increased demand for caregivers. A recent study conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has uncovered the fact that more than half of the caregivers employed by Medi-Cal earn wages at or below the poverty level and have poor access to quality food and good health care themselves.

Medi-Cal is the state of California's public health insurance program which provides care to low income seniors. It is also the primary care provider for adults who have been diagnosed with long-term illnesses or have serious disabilities.

This study discovered that nearly half or about 57% of the 450,000 paid caregivers working for Medi-Cal earn incomes that leave them either in poverty or near poverty.

The lead researcher pointed out that paid caregivers do a lot of work but receive very little in the way of remuneration for their labor. They are often paid much more than minimum wage which, in many circumstances, barely provides any kind of living wage.

They anticipate that this situation will only continue to worsen because of the massive state budget cuts undertaken by California. In addition, they expect further cuts will be made to an essential program called In-Home Supportive Services or IHSS.

The study was based on a the California Health Interview Survey which was conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research in 2009. It is the largest state health survey conducted annually in the United States.

In California, it is estimated that about 6 million caregivers provide essential services to either a member of their family or a friend who has some kind of long-term illness or a disability. Approximately 450,000 of these caregivers are paid a wage for the services they provide. Of these 450,000, about 290,000 are paid through Medi-Cal.

The study discovered that paid Medi-Cal caregivers are paid the least of any paid caregivers in the state. Their average monthly income was approximately $1,970, a dismal amount when compared to the $4,222 paid to caregivers who were not paid for the services they provided. Moreover, these workers reported working about 43 hours each week which meant that that their average hourly wage ended up being about $11.00 an hour. This was shocking to the researchers when they compared it to the state of California's median hourly of $18.13 in 2010.

Many of these workers were unable to afford the basic necessities of life and were forced to rely on food banks or skip meals because they did not have enough money to purchase groceries.

The turnover rate for people in these jobs was extremely high. Many of the paid Medi-Cal employees had been at their current job for more than one year. Less than 18% had been working at the same job for 10 years or more.

More than twice the number of the Medi-Cal employees were themselves uninsured which places them in the category of the vulnerable.

On April 1, 2012, California began to downsize its Adult Day Health Care Program as it began transitioning to a new program called Community-Based Adult Services. At the same time, it began implementing a 20% cut to the paid hours of In-Home Supportive Services workers. At present, this move is, blocked by a federal court but if the measure is fully implemented, it will have a devastating effect on the people with disabilities and the seniors it is meant to serve. These programs are designed to assist older adults who require care in order to enable them to remain independent in their communities. They are also meant to assist people with disabilities in paying for services like apartment cleaning, cooking, taking their medication and running errands.

If you are disabled and are looking for resources for assistance in any of the fifty states, one of the best places to start is here.

Source: EzineArticles
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