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Gov. Mills announces measures that will support personal care workers and Maine seniors amid COVID-19 outbreak

'As COVID-19 continues to impact our state, we know our older residents and those who need personal care are at particular risk,' Mills said.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Editor’s note: You are starting to hear the term ‘flattening the curve’ as a way to stem the tide of coronavirus cases. The above video explains what that means. 

As COVID-19 continues to impact the state, it is important that everyone in Maine, especially the most vulnerable residents, have the care they need.

On Monday, Gov. Janet Mills and Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Jeanne Lambrew, announced that the Mills Administration is accelerating pay increases for personal care workers and expanding access to meals for older Mainers who are home-bound because of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Maine DHHS will accelerate MaineCare (Medicaid) rate increases effective April, 1, 2020 instead of the original date of July 1, 2020, as approved by the Legislature.

In order to provide these rate increases now, DHHS has authorized using existing funds to begin all payment rate increases in the supplemental budget early.

"This is in align with the Mills Administration's previous action to financially support Maine's compassionate, quality long-term care providers, through an extraordinary circumstance allowance for nursing facilities, which was announced last week."

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The rate increases that providers will be receiving are designated to allow pay increases for nearly 20,000 personal support specialists, home health aides, private duty nurses, and other professionals who care for Maine’s older residents at home.

“It’s more important now than ever to ensure that older Mainers and those with disabilities can receive the care and nutritious meals they need at home,” Lambrew said. “We’ll continue to act to support Maine seniors and personal care workers as Maine responds to COVID-19,” the press release says.

The press release also states that, "Maine has received $800,000 through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to support meals for older Mainers who are home-bound, and more federal funding is expected through future allotments. This is especially important at a time when the Governor encourages all Maine to people to stay home. DHHS expects to be able to provide its local partners with this support in the coming days. Meal delivery volunteers will knock at the door of each home and then step back to ensure that the meal is received while maintaining physical distancing."

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