Vermont Homecare Letter of Support

The State of Vermont

Our negotiations have stalled as the state has refused to consider increasing base pay over $15/hour, and rejected our other proposals. We need solidarity and community support to force the state to recognize how important providers are!

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To: The State of Vermont
From: [Your Name]

We, the undersigned people of Vermont, support homecare workers and their priorities for a new contract:
-A liveable wage for all Medicaid-paid homecare workers.
-Increases in paid time off, and expanded eligibility for paid time off to all covered providers - not just those who work at least 18 hours per week and are paid on a daily rate.
-A statewide job platform to connect clients and providers.
-Increased access to training opportunities.

Homecare workers across Vermont are significantly underpaid, and their work goes largely unrecognized. The current negotiated minimum base rate for their work is $14.05 per hour. It’s no wonder that the number of providers enrolled in state-funded programs has plummeted from nearly 7,000 in 2014 to around 5,600 today (Q4 2023). Counter to this, the number of people needing this care is rising every year as our population ages. According to the Governor’s SFY2025 Budget Testimony, in SFY2023 the number of people receiving services from Choices for Care increased 10% to 6,674! This is unsustainable as we already don’t have enough people as it is and the State needs to act. According to Christine Werneke, President and Chief Operating Office of UVMMC Home Health and Hospice, and Stephen Leffler, President and Chief Operating Officer of The University of Vermont Medical Center, writing in Vermont Business Magazine, over a quarter of beds in UVMMC for adults receiving medical treatment or recovering from surgery are occupied by people simply waiting to receive care. Additionally, the number of nursing home beds is only decreasing. The same article estimates 500 beds have been lost in Vermont since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Skilled, compassionate homecare workers are a vital piece to the puzzle of caring for people with disabilities and the tens of thousands of older Vermonters who want to age safely in place.

Unfortunately, bargaining has stalled with the state of Vermont. Rather than agreeing to pay a liveable wage, the state has insisted on base wages below $15/hour, and has rejected nearly all other proposals for better supportive care.

Please respect homecare workers by accepting their needs for better wages and conditions.