Capitol Correspondence - 03.07.23

Senate Aging Committee to Hold Hearing on Direct Support Workforce

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The Senate Aging Committee is gearing up in the new 118th Congress to tackle a critical issue facing our aging population and individuals with disabilities: the dire shortage of direct support professionals. With an increasing number of older adults and individuals with disabilities opting to receive care in their homes and communities, the demand for direct support workers has skyrocketed in recent years. 

To address this pressing issue, the Senate Aging Committee will be holding a hearing this Thursday, March 9, at 10:30 am EST entitled “Uplifting Families, Workers, and Older Adults: Supporting Communities of Care” and streamed live. The hearing will focus on the importance of investing in the direct support workforce and ensuring the sustainability of home- and community-based services. 

The hearing comes at a time when the direct support workforce is facing significant challenges, including low wages, high turnover rates, and limited training and professional development opportunities. These challenges are particularly acute in certain areas, such as rural and underserved communities, where access to health care and other services is already limited. 

Investing in the direct support workforce and home- and community-based services is not only essential for improving the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and older adults, but also for supporting families and caregivers who often shoulder a significant burden of care. Moreover, it can help to reduce health care costs by allowing individuals to receive care in their homes and communities, rather than in hospitals and other health care settings.