We are excited to announce that we reached a Tentative Agreement on our contract re-opener!
Our priorities for these negotiations were to make the renewal process easier for providers, to make it easier for providers to access our Safety & Quality Enhancement fund, and to win rate increases for all providers, but with a special emphasis on closing the gap between rural and urban areas. Despite a challenging State budget, we were able to meet these goals and win a good contract for providers.
Highlights of the agreement include:
- Rate increases: All hourly and monthly rates will be increased by at least 1.5% on October 1, 2017. In Area B, standard rates will be increased by at least 2%. And in some categories of Area C, rate increases are as high as 8%. We have been working to close the gap and prioritize higher rate increases in Areas B and C, and we’re excited we were able to make progress in this tough budget year.
- Additional training fund: We established a one-time training fund of $250,000 that State will use to create new training classes. We shared feedback from your bargaining surveys about what kinds of classes you’d like to see, and we are excited about the increased training opportunities for providers. Additionally, $100,000 of this fund will supplement our existing training money, ensuring providers can get paid to take training!
- Improved renewal process: We won language that will make the renewal process easier for providers. You will now receive all required paperwork 90 days before it is due and then receive a reminder to turn it in 45 days before the deadline. This should help providers get paperwork processed sooner so you don’t end up working without pay while it’s being processed.
- Easier access to Safety & Quality fund: Did you know you can be reimbursed for the cost of equipment or repairs to help your home meet health and safety requirements? Few providers know we have a fund to help cover the costs of equipment and repairs. The form to request a reimbursement from this fund will now be available online and referred to on your listing form. If you’ve been making repairs or buying new safety equipment, keep your receipts and make sure to request reimbursement!
Look for more updates in your mailbox soon!