You Or Those You Serve May Not Have Affordable Health Care Coverage. You May Benefit From Health Care Reform!!
Hear how experts answered direct care workers’ questions during the ICA statewide conference. Click here to see the full video!
ICA Public Forums:
2011 Forum: "All Iowans Deserve Good Care and Support"
Community Leaders Speak Out at Public Forum on Direct Care Workforce Issues
Hear what they had to say.
Sherry Oswald, Certified Nursing Assistant, Dubuque, Iowa Opened A Recent Public Forum Hosted by Iowa CareGivers Association and Featuring Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds. Read Sherry’s Comments Here…
“Do you know what a DCW is?
I’m sure that on January 8th, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had no idea that her life would be saved by the quick thinking of her aide: who attributes his knowledge to the fact that he is/was a Certified Nursing Assistant (C.N.A.) who took the class while in High School.
Do you know what a DCW does?
Do you think we “just” wipe bottoms, give baths and change linens? Have you ever walked in our shoes? Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds has. She joined ICA in our “Come Care with Me” campaign. I know in my heart that she now appreciates the small and large things that a DCW does for those we care for.
"I am glad that direct care worker and direct care workforce issues are finally getting the attention they deserve. We have been an invisible sector to the workforce for far too long. I would also like to thank my legislator, Senator Tom Bowman, for taking the time to be here and for viewing these issues as worthy of his time and attention.”
Jim Pender Family,“They [direct care workers] literally make the impossible possible,” is the way Jim Pender describes the contribution caregivers have made to the Pender family. Jim’s adopted daughter, Rachel, who had a stroke due to her birth mother’s methamphetamine use, says that without Rachel’s caregivers, Emily, Bree, and others, Rachel would likely have to live in an institution.
Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, “we need 12,000 new direct care workers…we must act quickly and in time despite limited resources to avert the disaster.”
Erin Drinnin, Iowa Department of Public Health responds to Pella Certified Nursing Assistant, Jeff Weinstock’s question: “I see what I do as a profession, but I think some people look down on direct care workers. What can be done to change that?”
Representative Lisa Heddens, State Legislator and parent of child with special needs.
“We need to educate the public that this isn’t just an entry level job.”
Anne Kinzel, Health Law and Policy Analyst and Charles Bruner, Executive Director, Child and Family Policy Center, respond to Executive Director of Midwest Opportunities, Wendy Thibodeaux’s question:“our direct care workers face unrealistic monthly premiums, large deductibles, and minimal benefits. How does the current health care reform address these issues?
Erin Drinnin and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, “If the legislature is trying to give us caregivers better benefits and wages how long will this take?”
Anne Kinzel and Jim Pender, respond to Tray Wade,Vice President of Patient and Family Care, HCI Care Services “Is there any fear that increasing the (education) standards or expectations will diminish the number of people who want to go into it (direct care) and we’ll have more of a shortage?”
Emily Wiederin,Certified Nursing Assistant, employed by Pender family and supports Rachel, a special needs teen, comments on why she keeps coming back.“Everyone can learn from working with someone with special needs.”
Richard Wallace, Direct Care Worker, Midwest Opportunities on staff turnover.“I just want to put a face on the statistic…the entire evening staff has changed and I am now the only one there.”
John Hale, Policy Consultant, Iowa CareGivers Association “for far too long we’ve been willing to think of direct care workers as entry level people, as low skilled, as readily replaceable…”
John Hale, Policy Consultant, Iowa CareGivers Association “Changing the way people think is part of the solution…”
“Come Care With Us” Public Forum Photo Gallery
102 Attend Forum on Direct Care Workforce and Quality Care Issues
Public Forum 2009: "The Care Gap"
Anthony Wells, Certified Nursing Assistant, CHPNA
“It’s difficult to make a living in caregiving.”
Bruce Koeppl, State Director, AARP
“Without direct care workers, the care needs of increasing numbers of AARP members and other older adults cannot be met.”
Senator Jack Hatch, ‘People are ready for health care reform…and we can do it. The fact that many of the direct care workers who take care of our parents, grandparents, and the people we most care about don’t themselves have access to good health care coverage is one of the key indicators that the system needs reform.”
Julianne Carson, RN, Home Care Aide Director
“Without a sufficient number of well_trained direct care workers, many people will not be able to continue to live in their own homes, which is where many people wish to be.”
Paul Turner, AMOS (A Mid_Iowa Organizing Strategy)
“I urge direct care workers and their supporters to come together to organize for livable wages and benefits.”
Robert Denson, President, Des Moines Area Community College
“We can do better,” is Dr. Denson’s message. “Community colleges require capacity to educate more direct care workers in order to meet the growing need for care.”
Direct Care Workforce issues are very complex. By nature, the issues are about:
- Access to care
- Workforce and economic development
- Education and professional development for direct care workers and
- Social justice
“Iowa Braces for a Looming Care Gap: Building a Stable Direct Care Workforce” is a video, broken into four segments, that features community leaders sharing their views on the issues.
Just because one has health insurance doesn’t mean one has access to care. Access to care isn’t possible without a stable direct care workforce.
Workforce and Economic Development
Direct Care Workers (DCWs) leave the field of caregiving at alarming rates because of low wages, lack of health care coverage, inadequate education, lack of opportunities for advancement within the field of direct care and an overall lack of respect.
The costs of worker turnover in Iowa’s nursing homes alone, is over $45 million annually. Investment in addressing the needs of the direct care workforce would be a better use of public and private dollars.
Education and Professional Development
The education and training standards for Direct Care Workers (DCWs) are inconsistent and DCWs can’t maintain their certification through continuing education like other health professionals. There are also few opportunities for DCWs to advance within their chosen field of direct care.
A high percentage of direct care workers do not have access to care because they and their employers can’t afford the high premium costs. It is a social injustice that those giving care don’t have access to care.
“Real People Real Stories” features Direct Care Workers who lack adequate health care coverage.
To view the video, "Real People, Real Stories: The Uninsured and Underinsured in Iowa" please click here.
ICA thanks the following for their financial support for the public forum held on February 18, 2009 and the production of the “Iowa Braces for a Looming Care Gap: Building a Stable Direct Care Workforce" video.
Funding also provided by: US Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration.