New Index from PHI Ranks States on Direct Care Workforce Policy Supports

Jan 11, 2023

A new online tool is available to help policymakers, advocates, and other leaders in various states understand how they support direct care workers, where they can improve, and how they compare to other states.

Created and led by PHI, the Direct Care Workforce State Index offers an interactive, data-driven picture of how states’ public policies support direct care workers and how these workers are faring financially.

It enables users to rank and compare states based on two composite measures: the range of policies that states have enacted to support these and other workers, and the economic status of direct care workers.

The index ranks Massachusetts 6th among states for supportive policies and worker wages. Two other New England States – Maine and Rhode Island – cracked the top five. The index lists Massachusetts with 146,870 direct care workers of which 85% are women, 59% people of color and 40% are immigrants. According to PHI’s index, the median wage for direct care workers in the state is $17.59.

The full Massachusetts state profile is available here.

This ranking is based on two composite measures: the worker supportive policies measure, which examines policies related to wages, training requirements (with added detail on training standards for personal care aides, the most under-trained segment of the direct care workforce), Medicaid expansion, paid leave, “Right to Work” laws, protections for LGBTQ+ workers, and state-level Earned Income Tax Credits; and the direct care workforce economic measure, which includes variables such as median wage, wage competitiveness, median annual personal earnings, poverty, affordable housing, and health insurance coverage.