With one final month left in the 2018 Minnesota legislative session, a Mankato lawmaker continues to push for a pay increase for those that care for the state’s most vulnerable.

Mankato D.F.L. State Representative Jack Considine.

Representative Jack Considine said he is, “Not terribly optimistic, but I keep pounding on that every time it comes in.”

Considine’s proposal, which has been heard three times now in committee, would increase the pay for home health care workers by 5 percent in the first year and 10 percent in the second. He said, “It’s just disgraceful that we are not doing more to help these people – and the developmentally disabled and the mentally ill.”

An article published on Forbes.com Wednesday shows that an additional one-million direct care workers will be needed nationwide by 2026, but also states that the “dismal combination of low wages, inconsistent work schedules and poor advancement prospects will make it extremely hard to fill the projected home care positions.”

Considine said the home care industry is losing workers to retailers, restaurants, and other businesses that pay a higher wage and, “We heard a horrifying story of a person whose home health aid quit and they were trapped in their bed until the next person showed up.”

In addition, if those who need help to live independently can’t find adequate home care, Considine explained that it costs the state much more to provide them with needed services because, “Then they end up going into a nursing home or an assisted living, which is far more expensive to the state than paying these people.”

These positions are paid through state human services reimbursements, which is why caregivers have gone to lawmakers asking for wage increases.

According to the Government Accountability Office, caregivers in Minnesota make between $11.50 and $12.22 per hour on average, but rural caregivers typically make less than those in the metro area.