DSPs invited to attend conference

By LINDA D. SMITH, Public Relations Director

Washington D.C.: The proposed extension of Medicaid to low-wage workers is still on the table in Washington. Additionally, with reimbursement rates frozen for over ten years, it has become increasingly difficult for existing employees to live on the low wage limits set by the legislature and equally difficult for industry providers to find qualified, caring workers.

That doesn’t mean, however, that CRSI lacks some very dedicated, hard-working Direct Support Professionals (DSP’s) who do what they do mainly for the love and satisfaction it gives them.

Linda Sherer (front) of Defiance and Matt Taylor (middle) of Wapakoneta are two such DSP’s. Both were nominated by their supervisors and won awards in the statewide DSP contest held last October…and both were invited to attend the Ancor national convention.

Accompanied by OPRA President Mark Davis (far right) to discuss low wages and Medicaid extension, they met with staff members for Ohio U.S. Representatives Latte, Kaptur, Fudge, and Senator Portman.

Sherer says, “I told them (Washington staff) when I started nine years ago, the starting wage was $8 with a 30 cent raise after ninety days. The starting wage today is $8 with a 30 cent raise after ninety days. What’s wrong with this picture? We can’t keep good people for long…this is not CRSI’s fault. It’s the way Medicaid is structured.”

“I told them how I have been raising three grandkids alone for years and had to make a choice between food, clothing and basics for the kids and healthcare for me. I could not afford the health plan provided by the company and had to wait three years until I could go on Medicare in order to have surgery on a severe rotator cuff injury.”

She went on to say that they talked about the hardship for consumers when they get accustomed to caregivers who leave for better paying jobs. Taylor and Sherer spoke about how much they love their jobs and the people for whom they provide services. Taylor also told them how much the job has changed his life for the better, except for the pay.

Sherer has been invited by OPRA to testify before the full Senate Finance Committee.

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