Capitol Correspondence - 03.23.21

Workforce-Centered Reports: Effects of DSP Turnover on Individuals Supported, Supporting Direct Care Workers During COVID-19, the Shrinking Health Care Workforce and How Remote Work is Helping People with Disabilities

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To inform our members’ policy discussions with state and federal officials on addressing the Direct Support Professional recruitment and retention crisis, we share the following resources:

  • A report by the Council on Quality Leadership on the effect of Direct Support Professional Turnover on the individuals they support. “The findings of our study revealed, regardless of people with IDD’s support needs, people with IDD who experienced turnover had more emergency department visits, instances of abuse and neglect, and injuries than people with IDD who did not experience turnover.”
  • A publication by the National Governors Association on strategies states and employers will need to consider to retain the direct care workforce once COVID-19 Appendix K waivers end. “The direct care workforce is a critical component of a well-functioning health system. These occupations are reliable entry points into the health sector, but limited wage potential as well as physical and emotional demands of the jobs contribute to high turnover and shortages. Federal and state waivers and other programs implemented during the pandemic have successfully brought thousands of new workers into the long-term care workforce, and there are opportunities to act now to retain these workers and help them further advance in direct care roles and careers. Beyond the pandemic, there are significant opportunities for governors to convene academic institutions, employers, insurers, and others to address recruitment and retention as well as to develop pathways that help individuals achieve additional credentials that will lead to higher wages.”
  • A report by Altarum finding the health care workforce has decreased.  As reported by Politico Pulse: “The nation’s health care workforce has shrunk roughly 3.5 percent over the course of the pandemic, according to a new Altarum analysis of economic data. Health employment in February hit 15.92 million jobs nationwide, down from its peak level a year ago. That drop has been reflected in the nursing home and residential care sector in particular, where the workforce shrunk by 9.2 percent over the past year — the equivalent of 310,000 jobs.
  • Axios reports that remote work is removing barriers for people with disabilities. “All sorts of hurdles — like getting to work if you’re in a wheelchair or adjusting to office environments if you’re a person with autism — are eliminated by remote work. This new future could be a more inclusive one for all Americans.”