LIMA — A shortage of local health care providers is becoming increasingly apparent in Northwest Ohio.
Tom DiMarco, president and CEO of Interim HealthCare, a regional home health care company, believes that the demand for home health caregivers stems from the fact that there are approximately 10,000 people turning 65 each day.
“There are a number of assisted and independent living places being built in Lima, and they need to be staffed,” said DiMarco.
The demand for caregivers will grow exponentially and one of the largest impediments to that expansion is finding a number of qualified people, according to DiMarco.
At one point in time DiMarco said home care was a popular profession because people wanted to provide one-on-one care for clients. However, he believes people have more options in the field.
DiMarco said the wages are at the low end of the scale because of low reimbursement from the government from Medicaid and Medicare related programs, which they are largely dependent upon.
According to DiMarco, there has only been a $1 bill rate increase for paraprofessionals over the last 25 years.
Wally Kincaid, franchise owner of Comfort Keepers, a global home health care service company, said the wages are a problem.
“While in training, they are promised that they will make $15 to $20 an hour, but 0nce they are certified and offered a position they realize that the wages are closer to $8 to $10.50 an hour,” said Kincaid.
As much as Kincaid said he would like to offer a higher wage, he would have to raise the rates and that would create a domino effect.
DiMarco believes there would be more people interested in becoming caregivers if they were offered not only a fair wage, but were also in an environment where they felt comfortable.
That is why Interim Healthcare is willing to hire people with experience who can pass a background check and drug test — and the company will provide the training. They will go through 80 hours of paid training, are partnered with a mentor and from there are able to successfully transition into their position.
Comfort Keepers is frequently hiring at the Lima location and always looking for someone who is passionate about providing the care to their clients.
“They jump through a lot of hoops to get these low-paying jobs, they really do. But I tell you the ones that get through the process are the best caregivers in the world,” Kincaid said.
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews