The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID), which is hosted by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), has issued a workforce report which includes references to ANCOR priority topics and workforce materials, as well as ANCOR member efforts such as New York’s BeFair2Direct Care Campaign, Pennsylvania’s “Fix the DSP Crisis” video and Oregon’s Value the Work campaign. It also flagged ANCOR’s recruitment and retention toolkits. The goal of the report is to educate the Administration on the Direct Support Professional (DSP) crisis, as well as offer recommendations. Specifically, the report issued the 10 recommendations which we copied out further down in the article.
Of particular note are PCPID’s recommendations that the federal government encourage states to ensure their rate-setting methodologies offer sufficient DSP wages and encourage states to promote technology solutions so DSPs’ time can be used where it is most needed. PCPID also mentioned the importance of tracking occupational and wage data specifically for DSPs, a priority issue for ANCOR in Congress this year. Additionally, the Committee had several recommendations which encouraged the federal and state governmets to incentivize all sectors of the economy to create interest and investment in the DSP workforce. These recommendations reflect the same priorities ANCOR had outlined in its 2017 workforce report.
Below are the full 10 recommendations issued by the Committee. Please access the full report here to read PCPID’s analysis.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living should provide technical assistance and financial or programmatic incentives to states to promote the use of technology solutions in long-term services and supports, such as remote monitoring, sensors, robotics, and smart homes, to create efficiencies, reduce costs and support community living for people with intellectual disabilities
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living should provide funding to states through grants and contracts to develop, implement and evaluate comprehensive programs designed to provide training and technical assistance to employers that focus on improving business acumen to reduce Direct Support Professional vacancy rates, improve retention and promote efficient, high-quality longterm services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- The U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor should create grant programs and financial incentives for states to expand the pool of Direct Support Professionals through recognition programs, grassroots campaigns and training efforts designed to expand awareness about the profession and encourage greater participation by people with disabilities, men, retirees, and young adults across diverse racial, ethnic and cultural groups.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should work with states to expand utilization of self-direction in long-term services and supports so that family, friends and neighbors can be hired as Direct Support Professionals.
- The U.S. Department of Labor through the Bureau of Labor Statistics should investigate ways to recognize “Direct Support Professional” as a distinct occupation title and provide routine labor statistical reporting on this occupation.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) should ensure through regulation and review of Home and Community Based Services Waivers that states identify provider qualifications that recognize Direct Support Professionals as skilled practitioners who are community navigators, facilitating greater community and economic involvement for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Additionally, CMS and states should ensure that compensation rates are aligned with appropriate status, value, respect, a living wage and benefits.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should develop federal standards and work with the Department of Labor to implement specialized credentials and professional development opportunities for Direct Support Professionals, ensuring: (a) that people with intellectual disabilities are trainers and mentors, (b) that programs are focused on competencies specifically identified for DSPs, (c) that completion of training to meet standards is voluntary and occurs post-hire, and (d) that the credentials result in increased wages and access to benefits for DSPs.
- The U.S. Department of Labor should engage the broader American workforce system to find solutions to this crisis by using community colleges and American job centers to develop and invest in career training and credentialing for Direct Support Professionals.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor should engage the business community and provide grants and other incentives to states to develop online matching registry services and other creative options to match people with intellectual disabilities and their families who need help finding available DSPs.