LTC commission chief sees minimum wage going up

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Long-term care providers and other employers should brace themselves for a rise in the minimum wage. That was the forecast early Tuesday of Bob Kerrey, the co-chair of the National Commission for Quality Long-Term Care.

Kerrey made his prediction at a news conference at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Association of Homes & Services for the Aging in San Francisco. The former U.S. Senator from Nebraska said he expected the Democrats to take control of the U.S. House by the time ballots were counted in Tuesday's elections.

"I believe the minimum wage will (eventually) be increased, with a package of incentives attached to it," Kerrey said. "Then, the commission has to decide if it will help get something in that package to improve IT (information technology) and workforce conditions. It will accelerate our decision-making and could do something small (to help). Those little things can really accumulate so a year from now people in the field can say something has been done."

The LTC commission is charged with devising a broad range of recommendations to improve long-term care, from policy and funding issues to quality of care suggestions.