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Capitol Correspondence - 02.04.19

Important to I/DD Even if It Sounds Boring: Senate to Hold Hearing on DOL Statistician Nomination

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As shared by Politico Pro, on February 6 the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of William Beach to be Commissioner of Labor Statistics, among other DOL nominations. This nomination carries implication for I/DD supports and their workforce because the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which William Beach is nominated to lead, defines professions and collects statistics on them in its Occupational Handbook. This information is then used by federal and state policy-makers to make policy and funding decisions, not the least of which is Medicaid wage rate-setting.

Because of the importance of strong data to policy-makers, ANCOR has been campaigning for BLS to recognize Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) as a profession and to publish data on this workforce, such as wage rates and demographics. Currently, federal data on DSPs is mixed into data of other health para-professionals such as Home Health Aides (HHAs), even though their duties can differ greatly and HHAs have different funding streams than DSPs. This means there is not a lot of DSP-specific data available despite the importance of this workforce to ensuring people with I/DD live quality lives. ANCOR seeks to foster better-informed policymaking by increasing the availability of reliable and consistent workforce data.