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Better Cares Act


By Ana Ponce on December 10, 2021

The Better Cares Act is a historic investment in Medicaid home and community based services that has passed. What does this mean to case managers? This investment creates enhanced funding to strengthen long-term care. It will benefit case managers by having a larger worker base to care for your patients. The act will increase payment rates to promote the recruitment and retention of direct care workers . It will also be regularly updating HCBS payment rates to be competitive with the private market. The bill should create about 5,000 new care jobs in Florida and raise wages for care workers (the median wage in Florida is currently $12/hr see chart below).  Case managers will see relief in an increase of quality and happier caregivers. 

According to the act, States will be given Federal money for increased care coverage if they:

Strengthen and expand access to HCBS by expanding financial eligibility criteria for HCBS to federal limits; requiring coverage for personal care services; expanding supports for family caregivers; adopting programs that help people navigate enrollment and eligibility; expanding access to behavioral health care; improving coordination with housing, transportation, and employment supports; and developing or improving programs to allow working people with disabilities to access HCBS.”

Almost 72,000 people in Florida are on the Waitlist for services. This act provides generous funding so that everyone on the waitlist will begin receiving services as soon as they are eligible. This will enable case managers to provide care services to more individuals and be effective in keeping an individual at home where the average cost is $26,000 per year as opposed to nursing home which is $90,000 per year. This is great news as we close out a difficult and challenging chapter in home care this year due Covid and a decline of motivated in-home care workers due to low wages. 

The Better Cares act is broad and beyond the scope of this article.  I have only touched on a few points to give you a general idea of how it will affect case workers and the Florida elder care industry.  For more information we provide a link to the act and encourage you to read it and join the conversation.

Statistics

Florida HHA Workers Salary

By Luis Contreras on December 10, 2021

The average wage of a certified Home Health Aide in Florida is toward the low end of the scale nationwide.  This condition creates a lack of aides thus making staffing cases more difficult.  You may have to call various agencies to staff the case.  Low wages also attract more unskilled and inexperienced workers, further complicating the situation. High turnover rates are seen at this pay scale which means you have to restaff more often.. 

Sources vary in their reporting of the average pay for a Home Health Aide but the range is within $2.  The following sources will give you an idea of wages for an HHA in Florida. With rising inflation this wage poses a challenging situation for the workers.  As mentioned in the previous article we expect the new Better Cares Act will alleviate the situation to expand and improve service.

 

The average salary for a home health aide in Florida is around $24,280 per year. – Source: careerexplorer.com

The average hourly pay for home health aide in Florida is $12 an hour – Souce: glassdoor.com

The average hourly pay for home health aide in Florida is $10.15 an hour – Souce: payscale.com

The average hourly pay for home health aide in Florida is $10.94 an hour – Souce:  registerednursern.com