Thursday, October 13, 2016
Mosaic in Waco

An Update on Agency Events

by Debbie Fraysier; Program Services Director

For years, direct support workers have been filling the roles of teacher, social worker and community connector, in addition to providing personal care so that people with intellectual disabilities can live meaningful lives in a community of their choosing. This job boasts long hours, irregular schedules and low pay. Many of our staff take solace in the satisfaction and fulfillment of their job because they provide an opportunity to make a significant difference in the life of a person with disabilities. Mosaic supports a fair wage and appropriate benefits for our staff, but funding continues to be a challenge.

Mosaic is 96 percent Medicaid funded. This means almost all of our revenue comes directly through provider reimbursement rates. Medicaid funding pays for services, but does not pay to keep the lights on. This plays a major role in the challenge to provide a fair and competitive wage to the employees supporting the 125 individuals served by Mosaic.  
In 2014, President Obama directed the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to update rules applying to overtime for workers and workers earning less than the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried staff. Mosaic applauds these efforts to bring compensation to a fair living wage. Unfortunately, the DOL does not have the authority to address the unintended funding issues created by these directives. Mosaic and other providers must partner with states to ensure Medicaid provider payment rates are sufficient to fund workforce initiatives.
The Disability Community Act of 2016 (H.R. 5902) is a bipartisan bill that would benefit providers of Medicaid home and community-based services to people with disabilities, such as Mosaic. Due to the increasing costs from federal rules, we are requesting temporary funding to allow time for rates in the states to reflect costs stemming from the Overtime Final Rule and the Home and Community-Based Settings (HCBS) Final Rule.

Human services providers have no power to negotiate our funding rates, even when our costs increase. Without preemptive action, providers will either be forced to cut wages to already underpaid direct care workers, serve fewer people in the community, or both. At a time when more people than ever rely on these services to continue to live in their communities – with thousand more on the waiting list – either option would have devastating human consequences. The Disability Community Act would help Mosaic continue providing meaningful supports in the community by providing adequate funding to pay for the DOL directives.

We need your help in communicating the great need to our Federal Legislators. You can help by simply visiting Mosaic’s Action Center to look up your elected officials to send a message to your representative encouraging them to cosponsor H.R. 5902, the Disability Community Act. Sign up to receive future alerts through Mosaic Allied Voices. Every day we serve as the voice for the I/DD community. Today we need your help in being our voice. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for your support.

 

Read more from our latest newsletter: