aff start at $7.75 an hour, he said.
Information from the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality, an organization that works with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, shows the turnover of certified nurse aides in the state is nearly 140 percent.
The optional Medicaid benefit for the mentally disabled became available in 1972. Before, they were placed in state institutions.
The philosophy emphasizes independent living in small homes with job and social networking opportunities.
Finding job opportunities for residents, which is a federal requirement for homes, has been a challenge in a recession, administrators said.
Another alternative is falling short
Thousands of mentally disabled Oklahomans are already waiting as much as five years for services that could help them remain in their homes. Of the 5,000 people who've applied for community care services from the state Department of Human Services, more than 75 percent are facing a wait of three years or more.
Sheree Powell, spokeswoman with the DHS disability services division, said state-run centers for the mentally disabled in Pauls Valley and Enid are no longer taking patients. Many workers there have already taken buyouts.
This leaves many families with one option: an Intermediate Care Facility for the Mentally Retarded.