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Capitol Correspondence - 02.21.23

ANCOR Leads Letter on Supporting Standard Occupational Classification Legislation

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As part of the continued push for stabilizing the direct support workforce, ANCOR led a sign-on letter in support of the Recognizing the Role of Direct Support Professionals Act. The Act would require the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to revise the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system to create a distinct classification for direct support professionals (DSPs). ANCOR was joined by 28 national organizations signing on in support of this critical legislation that would retain vital data to better understand the workforce crisis.  

As written in the sign-on letter: 

“The current occupational classification system directly impacts state and federal agencies’ Medicaid HCBS policy decisions, including the determination of payment rates, which has negative longstanding effects on the retention and recruitment for the DSP workforce. Under the Medicaid HCBS system, each state is responsible for demonstrating that payment for home and community-based services is consistent with efficiency, economy, and quality of care and sufficient to enlist enough providers. To demonstrate compliance with this standard, most states use SOCs to determine DSP wages. And unlike other industries where employers can raise employee wages and offset costs, employers in the Medicaid HCBS program are bound by these rates—meaning DSPs are uniquely impacted by the SOC or lack thereof.  

Since there is no DSP SOC, states blend a variety of current and retired SOCs in an attempt to account for the wide array of DSP activities. For example, states may cherry pick from current classifications blending an array of codes such as Personal Care Aides, Home Health Aides, and even Recreation Workers. This has led to further inconsistency in DSP wage trends. A unique SOC for DSPs will aid in the retention of DSPs by providing a foundation for rate-setting and stabilizing wages.” 

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