The state has not increased funding for the home care MLTSS program in more than ten years. As the current average personal care worker wage in DE is $12.19—which is lower than the national average of $13.02—providers have struggled for years to compete for an adequate caregiving workforce. Now—with the minimum wage increasing to $15 per hour, home care providers will struggle to compete with industries like big retail and fast food, who can afford to pass off increased labor costs to consumers.
As wages for similar work in other settings—like in nursing homes and hospitals, and in other industries—like fast food and retail, have continued to rise, the home health care industry has struggled to recruit and retain enough personal care workers to keep up with demand. At the same time, demand itself has increased. According to data from the DE Department of Health, Medicaid authorizations for home care services have increased 42% from 2018-2020.