EAST PROVIDENCE, RI - Governor Gina M. Raimondo today signed legislation (S 2734 and H 7803) at Goldsmith Manor establishing an individual provider model for home care in Rhode Island. The model will give seniors and people with disabilities another option to be cared for at home where they can continue to be connected to their communities and families.
"Rhode Islanders should be empowered to choose what model of care is right for them," Raimondo said. "For a lot of people that might mean choosing an individual provider they know and trust. This bill ensures that kind of individual care that helps people lives more independent lives can be provided in a structured, consumer-friendly and transparent way."
The bill allows the individual provider workforce to collectively bargain. The state will train, certify, set wages and qualification standards for the workforce. The state will also maintain a list of certified individual providers from which individuals and their families can choose.
"I enjoy caring for my clients and ensuring they can get good consistent care," said Cindy Dennis, an East Providence home care worker for four years and mother of four, who spoke at the bill signing. "But at times, the clients do not get the quality of care they deserve due to the high turnover and low pay of our field. This bill will give clients another choice for how they receive home care, and help give workers like me a living wage and a voice that is heard."
"Presently, Rhode Island ranks 42nd in the nation in terms of investment in home care. Ninety percent of older Americans prefer home care. Not only is it more comfortable for seniors, it's more cost-effective, as we've seen in states like Massachusetts. High-quality home care is what people want, and it saves money. I'm proud to support this effort to help make excellent home care available to more Rhode Islanders," said Senator Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence).
Said Representative Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence), "There is little question that people prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. Particularly now, as the over-65 population in our state is rapidly expanding, Rhode Island must shift more of our long-term care resources toward supporting home care. Our legislation will help provide more options for home-based services, enhance access to them and establish standards that assure high-quality care."