COOPERATION:The ministries of health and welfare, labor and education will work together to encourage more young people to invest in the long-term care industry
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
The hourly wage or monthly salary for long-term care workers is to be increased as an incentive to attract more people into the long-term care services industry, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said yesterday, adding that the industry lacks between 5,000 and 10,000 workers.
Minister of Health and Welfare Lin Tzou-yien (林奏延) said that a “long-term care services program 2.0” is scheduled to be launched on Jan. 1 next year, and will include three pilot schemes: a three-level long-term health system; a multiple assessment scale and payment standards; and a simplified verification process for service units.
Lin said that the three-level long-term health system consists of community-based integrated service centers, combined daycare service centers, and long-term care stations in alleys and lanes, which would allow the services to be more flexible.
The multiple assessment scale and a system for operating the assessment through a mobile device have been set up and tested, and if the operation goes smoothly, it will only take about 30 minutes to assess a case, a patient’s needs, and corresponding services and payment, he said.
Lin added that while many long-care service providers operate on tight budgets, the new program hopes to simplify the verification process so that they are able to receive corresponding payments in a shorter period of time.
He said the ministry has held information sessions in 18 cities and counties, and he hopes a drafted amendment to the Long-term Care Services Act (長期照顧服務法) can be approved by the Executive Yuan this week and sent to the Legislative Yuan for final approval.
When asked to what extent the government plans to increase health surcharges on tobacco, tobacco tax, and inheritance and gift taxes to finance the long-term care program, Lin said it would be decided by the Executive Yuan.
Social and Family Affairs Administration Director Chien Hui-chuan (簡慧娟) said as between 5,000 and 10,000 long-term care workers are still needed, the ministry is working to increase the monthly salary to at least NT$30,000 and the hourly wage to at least NT$220 or NT$250.
She said the ministry will also cooperate with the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Education to encourage more young people to participate and invest in the long-term care services industry.
Department of Nursing and Healthcare Director-General Tsai Shu-feng (蔡淑鳳) said whether the lack of workers can be resolved is a key point to the success of the program.
She said that in addition to attracting the approximately 4,000 students that graduate from the more than 40 departments associated with long-term care services, the ministry is also working on improving the working environment to keep workers in the industry.