Support HB1001 for DSP Wage Increase

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Ellen DeMartinis, CEO Opportunity Enterprises
219-464-9621 ext 248, ellen.demartinis@oppent.org
Date: March 16, 2017

EDITORIAL: SUPPORT HB1001 FOR DIRECT SUPPORT PROFESSIONAL WAGE INCREASE

Valparaiso, IN – Last week, members of the Indiana House of Representatives approved HB1001, the state’s biennial budget bill which includes provision for an increase to Direct Support Professionals (DSP) wages. This week, it is being discussed in Senate committees. Please contact your state senator to voice your support for leaving DSP wage increases in the budget bill. Direct Support Professionals are those that provide close personal care for our clients. They are the ones who feed, bathe, and otherwise provide an opportunity for those with the most severe disabilities to live outside of parent’s homes. They are the ones who allow families a momentary respite from caring for their loved ones to care for themselves or go to work.

DSPs are the front-line caregivers for Opportunity Enterprises, and other organizations like ours. Their work is physically and emotionally draining and therefore, we see the largest turnover in staffing DSPs. DSP wages, or Medicaid reimbursement for such services, has not effectively had an increase since 2008. Isn’t it time we show our appreciation with financial remuneration for these DSPs, the heroes of our industry.

Current DSP wages are fractionally above the federal poverty level for a family of three and are only 33% of the Indiana median family income. The proposed wage increase would provide $1700 more to each DSP. It is estimated that $4.16 of new local economic activity is generated with each new dollar of investment. This is part of a $10 million investment by the state of Indiana that will leverage $20 million in matching funds from the federal government.

Please contact Senator Ed Charbonneau at 800-382-9467 or Senator.Charbonneau@iga.in.gov or Senator Karen Tallian at 317-232-9847 or s4@in.gov to voice your support for leaving DSP wage increases in the budget bill. For more information on how to advocate, see www.oppent.org/get-involved/advocacy.

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 OPPORTUNITY ENTERPRISES WORKS TO MAXIMIZE SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND ENRICH THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES. CELEBRATING 50 YEARS IN 2017, OE IS IN THE BUSINESS OF AMAZING PEOPLE, SERVING NEARLY 1,000 PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN NORTHWEST INDIANA WITH OVER 450 STAFF AND HUNDREDS OF VOLUNTEERS.