Letter: Legislature moving in wrong direction
Sunday, May 1, 2011
With the state facing a historic budget deficit, many call for new models of providing services, particularly giving more responsibility to private companies. It is ironic, then, that in one of the major state services where private companies do play a major role, the state is moving in the opposite direction.
For years, private companies like local nonprofit CDM Services, of which I am executive director, have been key providers of home-care services for the most vulnerable.
Those who can’t supervise their own care — including many with severe disabilities — can receive service through a private agency, which provides more care management, quality control, and oversight than the state-run “Individual Provider” program.
Years ago, the Legislature unanimously adopted the “agency parity” statute, which ensures that compensation for individual providers and caregivers at private agencies remains competitive to allow recruiting and retaining qualified workers. The 2011 Legislature has proposed eliminating this provision. This could leave thousands of agency caregivers without health care, force vulnerable consumers into nursing homes, and lead to elimination of home care agencies.
Private businesses have played a key role in promoting quality, innovation and cost effectiveness. Let’s not move in the wrong direction and prevent private companies from competing to provide home care services in Washington.