Rhode Island’s developmental disabilities agency seeks to raise the pay of direct care workers to $18 an hour beginning July 1, 2022, a 14 percent hike over the current hourly rate of $15.75.
The raise would be covered by a $44.5 million increase in federal-state Medicaid funding for the privately operated developmental disability service system, according to a budget request submitted to Governor Dan McKee for Fiscal Year 2023 by the state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH).
Within an overall agency budget of $585.9 million, representing a 12 percent increase, the Division of Developmental Disabilities would get nearly $380 million. That sum would cover both the privately-operated system of services and a state-run network of group homes. Private providers would get a total of about $352 million in federal-state Medicaid funding, about $44.5 million more than the current budget of $307.9 million. The budget for the state-run group homes would remain relatively flat, at about $28 million.
In an Oct. 1 budget letter to the governor, BHDDH Director Richard Charest wrote, “The Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) continues its commitment in complying with the terms of the 2014 federal consent decree and providing integrated employment and day services.”