In case you missed it, our CEO Julie Bluhm was recently featured in a Q&A piece in MinnPost, as well as penning a LinkedIn article that has been shared broadly. These pieces outline what Julie refers to as the “perfect storm” for professionals in mental health services—a combination of stagnant wages, expensive education requirements, regulatory changes, as well as the obvious emotional toll.
This “perfect storm” means that we need to focus not only on building sustainable ways to continue offering Guild’s services, but also on advocating for policy change at the systemic level. That’s why we’re participating in Mental Health Day on The Hill on February 24th, 2022.
The Staffing Crises Problem
One of the biggest problems in increasing wages for our incredible staff is that we’re beholden to government reimbursement rates for our services. In other words, when we provide our services, we bill the government—Medicaid and Medicare— to get paid, and in turn, to pay our staff.
Not only does the legislature too narrowly define what we can bill for, but it also has not increased our reimbursement rates for behavioral health services for many years. For example, the starting salary for a position that often requires an advanced degree is under $40,000 per year. With education requirements and wages like these, our staff struggles to do their demanding and critically important jobs—often with astounding college debt—on wages that might have made sense nearly 20 years ago but are no longer tenable or livable today.
We need to be able to recruit and retain talented staff. We need to pay our fantastic team livable, fair wages. And, as citizens, we need to tell our representatives that services like those Guild provides improve our community and our lives.
We Need Your Help.
Contact your legislators and tell them you are concerned about this problem. Tell them to support emergency funds for the short-term, raise stagnant Medicaid rates for Behavioral Health benefits, and pass workforce changes outlined in these bills: Senate file 1362 and House File 970. You can find out who represents you here.