ANCOR has submitted comments in response to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s Request for Information (RFI) emphasizing the importance of including the direct care workforce in legislative efforts to strengthen the health care workforce. Direct care work includes a range of activities, from daily living support to managing health conditions. Studies show that demand for direct care workers is expected to increase by nearly a million by 2030, making it one of the fastest-growing occupations in the country. However, there is currently a critical shortage of direct care workers due to underinvestment and stagnant reimbursement rates. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation, with 83% of providers turning away new referrals and 63% having to discontinue programs and services according to data from ANCOR’s State of America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis 2022. ANCOR urged the committee to consider policies to strengthen the direct care workforce.
The letter also provides three specific recommendations for legislation to address the workforce crisis, including supporting career pipeline programs for direct support professionals (DSPs), increasing provider payment rates, and creating a standard occupational classification (SOC) for DSPs. ANCOR’s survey data shows that the workforce crisis has had a significant impact on providers’ ability to offer services, with many forced to discontinue programs and services. This is threatening access to community-based services for people with disabilities. The letter emphasizes that the impact of the direct care workforce crisis is felt in the health care system and impacts the life-sustaining services for millions of Americans.
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