Maine’s Critical Direct Care Workforce Shortage: A New State Study and a Discussion on the State of the State Show

(Augusta, ME) The Maine Center for Economic Policy is releasing a summary and analysis of a new report from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine’s Direct Care Workforce: Wages, Health Coverage, and a Worker Registry. This study was mandated by the legislature last year, conducted in the fall and winter, and will be presented to the Health and Human Services Committee on Augusta 25 at 1 pm by Diana Scully, Director of the Bureau of Elder Services and Lisa Pohlmann, study author and associate director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy. See the full study at:

Study of Maine’s Direct Care Workforce: Wages, Benefits and a Worker Registry.

MDHHS Report to the 123rd Legislature, March 2007.

See the MECEP summary at:

This week’s State of the State show also features a discussion of the critical shortage of direct care workers in Maine’s long-term care system and current legislative initiatives to address it. Guests are Senate President Beth Edmonds; Susan Rovillard, Executive Director of Home Resources for ME; and Roy Gedat, Maine Personal Assistance Services Association. Audio of the show is also available at

Quality long-term care for elders and adults with disabilities in Maine depends upon a stable direct care workforce – currently over 22,000 certified nursing assistants, home care aides, direct support professionals and others. These occupations are projected to be among the eleven fastest growing occupations from 2002-2012 as Maine’s population continues to age. However, Maine’s median wages for these occupations – an average median wage of $9.75 – are less than those in all other New England states. Reimbursements to long-term care providers through the MaineCare program – which pays for about two-thirds of all nursing home care and the majority of home care – constrain their ability to pay competitive wages or offer affordable health benefits to these workers. Current legislative initiatives propose targeted wage increases and new ideas for offering health coverage to these workers.

The State of the State show will air on Channel 9 on the Time Warner cable TV network Tuesday, April 24 at 7:30 pm and on Saturday and Sunday April 28 and 29 at 11:30 am. Time Warner Cable TV Channel 9 reaches over 150,000 households in over 200 towns from Ellsworth though Bangor, Waterville, Augusta, Lewiston to Boothbay and Kennebunkport.

The show also airs on the Greater Portland Community Television network Channel 4, serving 70,000 households in 14 towns in the Greater Portland area, Tuesday, May 1 at 1 am, 6 am, 1 pm, and 6 pm.  Additionally the show airs on Bath Community TV Channel 14 in Bath, Brunswick, Bowdoinham, Phippsburg and Woolwich and in Baileyville, Harpswell and Farmington.  This week’s show is hosted by Lisa Pohlmann of the Maine Center for Economic Policy in Augusta. The show is produced by Trudy Deblois of the Time Warner Cable TV studio in Augusta.