Printable Verison for this Letter note: acrobat format
Salary Parity for Case Managers Sign On Letter
March 31, 2016
Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York, NY 10007
Dear Mayor de Blasio:
There are upwards of 20,000 homebound, frail elders whose lives depend on City-funded case management services through the Department for the Aging (DFTA). There are an additional 1,500 people on wait-lists for services. Case management for homebound elders provides a lifeline and ultimately saves the City countless dollars in emergency and health care. Yet, this system’s survival is threatened after years of struggling due to high staff turnover and an increased demand for services. Together, our organizations are requesting the City to make an investment in the case management workforce to save this needed service and prepare for the future. For about $12 million, NYC can provide salary parity for aging service case managers which will stabilize the service delivery system, support seniors and their family caregivers, and develop a geriatric workforce to meet the needs of the rapidly growing older adult population.
The major reason for high turnover and staff burden is the extremely low salary rates compared with other human service fields. In fact, DFTA funded case managers and their supervisors earn roughly $20,000 less per year than case managers within other City-funded human services. We are advocating for annual salaries of $55,000 for case managers and $65,000 for supervisors. These rates are validated by recent ads for Masters level social workers at nonprofits funded through the Department of Homeless Services and Thrive/NYC which have starting salaries of $55,000. The status quo is unsustainable leaving thousands of older New Yorkers isolated and in desperate need of services. The current level of low salaries is completely unsustainable and means that because of high turnover, thousands of older New Yorkers will remain isolated and in desperate need of services.
Our organizations believe that ensuring salary parity for DFTA-funded case managers is a fair and practical solution to the chronic high staff turnover rates and long waiting lists. Below are some of the consequences that extremely low salaries have on older adults, family caregivers, and the case management system:
- Incredibly High Turnover - Every year there is an average of one-third staff turnover rate. Every two years, there’s a 50% turnover rate.
- Unequal Salary Rates - There is a $20,000 difference for case managers and a $17,000 difference for supervisors, even with other social services nonprofits.
- Difficulty to Retain Staff - Salary disparity does not allow case management agencies to hire and retain MSW level staff for both case managers and supervisors.
- Lack of Professionally Trained, Master of Social Work (MSW) Staff - This impacts the capacity and continuity of service delivery to frail, homebound seniors who often languish on waiting lists. Lack of case management does not support family caregivers working hard to care for their older parents, spouse and others.
- Long Waits for Services - High turnover rates impact lengthy waiting lists as new case managers cannot take on a full caseload right away plus staff vacancy time. CLICK HERE to see the 2016 Case Management Waitlist and Turnover chart.
- An Unprepared Workforce for the Future - Seniors are the fastest growing segment of the city’s population, particularly the 85+ population. A trained, professional workforce is essential to delivering services and reducing waiting lists.
- A System that Doesn’t Address a Rapidly Growing, Diverse Population - Case management agencies must be able to hire and retain bilingual MSWs in order to address important cultural and linguistic needs of a diverse older adult population.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration, in partnership with City Council, have implemented major policies and programs, such as affordable housing, that will meet the current and future needs of the city. It is time to plan for another part of the City’s future – older adults and their family caregivers. The substantial salary disparity of frontline, aging service workers leaves NYC unprepared. Our organizations look forward to working with the administration and City Council on addressing case management salary parity. We all have a role to play in sharing the responsibility between city government and community-based organizations to serve older adults and their caregivers throughout diverse communities across the city.
For more information please contact Bobbie Sackman, Director of Public Policy, at 212-398-6565x226 or email@example.com.