The State of America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis 2022

The longstanding direct support workforce crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to closures of critically needed services and a denial of access to community-based supports.
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Capitol Correspondence - 11.03.20

ICYMI: ANCOR Releases New Brief Profiling Providers’ Challenges During Pandemic

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We are reprising this announcement for the convenience of our members:

ANCOR published Racing Against the Clock: Preserving Disability Supports During the COVID-19 Pandemic, a new brief highlighting the significant challenges confronting providers of community-based disability supports. These providers support a population that is highly vulnerable to the worst impacts of the coronavirus because of underlying medical conditions that increase the risk of death if the virus is contracted.

Racing Against the Clock offers in-depth profiles of a diverse group of eight providers that are working to stay afloat as the pandemic worsens long-standing challenges, while ensuring the health and well-being of the people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) they serve. These profiles include information about the revenue losses and increased expenses experienced by the providers, what federal aid has been made available to them, the steps they’re taking to make ends meet and more.

Although the situations highlighted are tenuous at best, they also underscore the incredible resilience of community-based organizations dedicated to supporting people in the community. The stories—which represent the experiences of ANCOR’s broader 1,600-member community—also make clear the significant investments that are needed if people with I/DD are to have the options and resources needed to be included in the community long after the pandemic subsides.

In particular, Racing Against the Clock highlights several troubling findings:

  • The pandemic has generated such deep financial loss for providers that it threatens their ability to deliver supports at all.
  • Current funding is insufficient to address the increased responsibilities placed on direct support professionals, exacerbating a long-standing direct support workforce crisis.
  • The financial duress wrought by the pandemic is forcing providers to confront impossible choices, including decisions about which services to continue delivering and which services to permanently discontinue.
  • Even when the contributions of federal programs like the Provider Relief Fund and the Paycheck Protection Program are supplemented by states’ efforts to fund disability services, long-standing structural challenges make recent progress vulnerable to being undone by surges in the number of new COVID-19 cases.

“Given the dire nature of this situation,” the brief argues, “Congress must prioritize legislation to fund Medicaid supports that both keep people with I/DD healthy and safe during the pandemic, and ensure people with I/DD have the options and resources they need to live, work and thrive in the community long after the pandemic has subsided.”

Download Racing Against the Clock today. Then, visit the ANCOR Amplifier to identify opportunities to take action to support disability providers during the pandemic at amplifier.ancor.org.