Caregivers for Iowans with disabilities could soon receive pay raises

Care workers who assist Iowans with disabilities could soon see pay raises averaging nearly $ 3 per hour, with help from state legislators.

A bill introduced in the Iowa House of Representatives Wednesday includes $ 14.6 million in extra Medicaid spending to increase wages paid to people who help Iowans with disabilities live in their homes or in small group settings instead of in nursing homes or institutions. Thousands of Iowa families have been struggling to find and keep such care services, because workers can find better pay for less stressful jobs in the tight labor market.

Each dollar of new state spending would draw down extra money from the federal government, which pays about two-thirds of the cost for Iowa’s Medicaid program.

Iowa Human Services Director Kelly Garcia said she hopes the extra money, if approved, would increase direct-care workers average pay from about $ 13 an hour to nearly $ 16 per hour.

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