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Title XII PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

  Chapter 208back to chapter 208

  208.853.  Findings and purpose. — Findings and purposes.

The people of the state of Missouri find as follows:

  (1)  Thousands of Missouri senior citizens and people with disabilities continue to live independently in their own homes and avoid placement in institutions such as nursing homes only as the result of the availability of qualified personal care attendants who assist them with the activities of daily living.

  (2)  Many Missouri senior citizens and people with disabilities who could not otherwise afford personal care assistance services in their own homes receive the services with assistance provided by the state and federal governments under the Missouri consumer directed services program.

  (3)  The United States Supreme Court has mandated that states provide services to persons with disabilities "in community settings rather than in institutions" when remaining in the community is appropriate, consistent with the wishes of the disabled person, and can be reasonably accommodated.

  (4)  In-home care is not only the choice of most senior citizens and people with disabilities, it is less costly than institutional care such as that provided in nursing homes and thus saves Missouri taxpayers significant amounts of money.

  (5)  The consumer directed services program permits the consumers of these highly intimate and personal services to hire, terminate and supervise the individual providing the services, but it does not currently give consumers any role in setting wage rates for personal care attendants.

  (6)  Personal care attendants generally receive low wages, minimal or no benefits, little if any training, and have no meaningful input into their terms and conditions of employment and no meaningful means of making suggestions for improvements in the consumer directed services program.

  (7)  The continued availability of quality home care services is threatened by a looming shortage of qualified personal care attendants due to the aging population in the state as well as low wages, a lack of benefits, and high rates of occupational injury.  These poor working conditions also contribute to high turnover among personal care attendants that impairs the continuity of care.

  (8)  The safety of home care services is threatened by both the failure of existing safeguards to protect consumers from potentially abusive attendants and lengthy delays in processing background checks as recently documented by the state auditor.

  (9)  The continued availability of quality, safe home care services can be ensured through the creation of the "Missouri Quality Home Care Council" with authority to investigate the quality, safety and availability of home care services, recruit eligible personal care attendants, recommend qualifications for personal care attendants, improve the training of personal care attendants, establish a statewide list of eligible personal care attendants, refer consumers to eligible personal care attendants, engage in collective bargaining with a representative of personal care attendants, and recommend changes in personal care attendants' wages and benefits to the general assembly.

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(L. 2008 Adopted by Initiative, Proposition B, § 2, November 4, 2008)


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