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As care recipients suffer from home healthcare worker shortages across the country, local governments scramble to meet community needs. Lawmakers attempt to fund pay increases and self-directed care at the national level. For example, the Department of Homeland Security deployed the National Guard to four facilities in Wisconsin. In California, caregivers receive $500 state-funded bonuses. In this post, Direct Care Innovations explains California’s efforts to address caregiver shortages.

California Caregivers Get $500 Pandemic Bonus

Low Wages, High Turnover Prompt Efforts

At least 500,000 California caregivers will receive a $500 bonus from the state as long as they worked at least two months between March 2020 and March 2021. The state hopes the bonus helps compensate healthcare givers they believe are underpaid. Additionally, the state acknowledges the problematic nature of staffing shortages and desires to communicate its support with the gesture. Both the state and federal government split the payout cost, which is approximately $280 million. 

Pandemic Exacerbates Problems

In Sacramento, the minimum wage rate is $14/hr. By and large, most IHSS providers fall into this category. Clearly, it’s challenging to live in California without a sustainable wage. The pandemic only exacerbated the issue as many elderly and others receiving care worried about having providers in their homes. With the risk of exposure, many California caregivers and receivers alike suffered from reduced contact and services. In addition to transmission, caregivers faced the additional burden of reduced income.

Tangible Support for IHSS Providers

California caregivers who provide Medi-Cal home and community-based services, as well as in-home caregivers, benefit from the bonus. The move also supports specific programs, such as All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. In-home supportive services (IHSS) are crucial for the well-being of those who want to avoid residential housing and other environments. It’s imperative during the pandemic when community housing and nursing homes have experienced breakouts. Those behind the payouts hope that they promote retention and support workforce development.

Many argue that IHSS providers are underpaid. The vast majority get paid minimum wage and live paycheck to paycheck. For some, $500 is a week’s paycheck. Therefore, the bonus could mean the difference between making a car or rent payment or going into default. The payout communicates their position as essential frontline workers. 

Supporting IHSS Providers and Organizations

Direct Care Innovations champions California caregivers and IHSS providers in all 50 U.S. states. In addition, we support managed care organizations, self-directed care, and government agencies. We do this by creating awareness around issues and industry news. We also accomplish this through our feature-rich business management software. After all, when you can streamline processes, achieve EVV compliance, and effectively manage functions like payroll and authorization management, you can focus on what matters most: people. Call (480) 295-3307 or schedule a free demo.

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