In June, BAMSI announced our intent to increase pay rates for all of our regular direct care, nursing, program manager, and assistant director positions in Residential and Day Services. BAMSI CEO, Peter Evers, stated “These positions are incredibly important to the health, safety, and happiness of the people we serve. They deserve more than what the state currently provides us within our contracts, so we decided to stop waiting for the legislature to recognize the value of these essential workers and find a way to raise wages on our own.”
Pay increases began to go into effect in April, May, and July and BAMSI was prepared to accumulate an $8M deficit for the year as we looked for additional ways to fund this investment in our workforce. In addition to cost saving initiatives and enhanced fundraising activities, BAMSI hoped the state would come through with additional funds to help cover the increased payroll costs. The pay raises were a risk, but BAMSI felt it was necessary to support our dedicated workforce.
Late last month the Executive Office of Health and Human Services came through with some temporary partial relief. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is giving all state Medicaid programs an additional 10% in funding that can be spent on certain programs through the end of the year. This is great news yet only partially offsets the commitment BAMSI has already made to our workforce. Although these enhanced payments are set to end on December 31, 2021 BAMSI is hopeful the state will find a way to match our investment.