In addition to PPE, the Biden administration plans to create a Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard. This would be primarily used to help American citizens gauge the level of transmission in their zip codes in real-time. Not only could the tool be beneficial for home care agencies to understand how COVID -19 is trending in their local area, but it helps them to assess if they should be taking any extra precautions with their high-risk patients.
While there’s no easy pass to stopping the pandemic outright, putting more focus on some of the pandemic pain points (like PPE and transmission info) will be beneficial for the senior population and potentially allow home care agencies to return to normal life sooner.
Read more about the Biden-Harris plan to beat COVID-19 here.
A minimum wage increase to $15 an hour
As you’re probably already well aware, Biden has pledged to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. With some home care agencies offering wages much lower than the proposed new minimum, it’s likely this could cause some financial burdens.
Although this change won’t happen overnight, and there are hurdles to transcend before it’s even a possibility, it’s still important to address how it could affect home care agencies.
Like many of the possible changes under a Biden administration, this change is a mixed bag; it creates hopeful prospects for some direct care workers while creating the potential for significant challenges among home care agencies.
After talking with thousands of caregivers across the country, one of the most prominent complaints that we heard was in regard to the low wages they were receiving. They generally wanted more pay, both as a means of recognition and to better provide for themselves.
It’s important to note that because of the low wages caregivers are facing, about 18% or 1 out of every 6 caregivers are currently living below the poverty line. Biden’s goal with this change is to relieve any stress that comes with lack of pay and support low-income families and individuals more intentionally. While it will help the caregivers immensely, it could cause some problems for home care agencies – especially if they’re already struggling at their current pay rate.
However, a minimum wage increase of $15 an hour can take a drastic toll on business finances. A pay increase of several dollars, spread across an entire agency, is a significant increase in costs. For some agencies, it might just mean moving funds around or allocating from different sources. For others, it might mean increasing client rates or adjusting the client-to-caregiver ratio.
The fight for a $15 minimum wage has gone on for years and some areas have already adapted; however, Biden’s election might accelerate the movement. It’s also important to remember that while this minimum wage is not already legislated, this has already become the practical reality for some home care agencies since employment competitors like Amazon and Target have switched to a $15 minimum.
Increased resources to make caregiving a viable source of income for more caregivers
The growing caregiver shortage has been on the national radar in recent years, and Biden’s proposed policies include a plan to use federal funding to help combat the problem.
While there are various forms this could take, there’s likely to be some support across the board that could benefit home care agencies.
To begin this process, the plan is to provide states, tribal, and local governments with the necessary financial means to keep workers employed – especially for vital public services like home care.
As part of his $775 billion plan, Biden says he wants to see upward of 3 million new caregiving and education jobs. In his words: