Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to appear on Capital Tonight with
Liz Benjamin. The discussion was largely around the impact of minimum wage
to the mental health and other human service workforce.
This will be a significant issue for not for profits in the future. The
issue of compression is a very real one for community providers and has to
be addressed in future budget negotiations. Speaking specifically about
mental health, there has been only nominal increases in the budget over the
last eight years for workforce which also needs to be addressed. When you
also layer in issues of the transition to Medicaid managed care and DSRIP,
it becomes clearer that there must be a large public investment for the
mental health community as well as in other sectors.
The backdrop of the entire issue is about funding for the not for profit
sector. We are the ultimate safety net for people in greatest need and we
must have the financial investments in place to keep people in the
community and out of more costly settings, which is also consistent with
the goals of Medicaid Redesign.
The Governor and the Legislature have done much to bolster and support not
for profits, but now is the time for a broad based campaign to raise our
collective voices in the human services world to support a mental health
and human services investment.
The transcript from the interview is attached below. I also will be on the
Capitol Pressroom with Susan Arbetter tomorrow discussing this issue.
Capital Tonight April 25, 2016
“The state approved a higher minimum wage in this year’s budget, with
downstate slowly increasing to $15 an hour and upstate reaching $12.50 by
2022. Non-profits fought to make sure that they were included in any wage
hikes. But, the issue now is how everyone else’s pay will be impacted. For
example, if someone in the mental health workforce in Albany makes $12.50
right now, will their salary be increased along with those who are making
the current minimum wage? Glenn Liebman from the Mental Health Association
of New York State joins us to talk more about this.”