News from Self Directed Personal Assistant Services
Addressing the Caregiver Shortage
For the first time ever, a new proposal to track the number of direct support caregivers will help address the shortage of workers to assist people with disabilities. A bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in March will change the way the government categorizes direct support professionals.
Currently, these workers are lumped in with home health care aides in the system used by Bureau of Labor Statistics to monitor workforce trends. Advocates say that category is far too broad and leads to a lack of reliable information about how many people across the nation are employed as direct support professionals and where more are needed.
Known as the Recognizing the Role of Direct Support Professionals Act, it directs the White House Office of Management and Budget to create a new code for “direct support personnel.” That would include individuals who assist people with disabilities with activities of daily living and with services that allow them to live in the community.
With better data, lawmakers behind the measure should be able to identify shortages, report accurate turnover rates and determine where to target to make improvements.
We know first hand what a difference the self-directed in home care providers make in the lives of those they work with. One of the first changes that could help with finder workers and retaining them is increasing the per hour Medicaid reimbursement rate.
Senator Maggie Hassan, D-NH introduced the measure and she has a son with cerebral palsy. She hopes the bipartisan support will help address this workforce shortage, and she will continue to work across the aisle to ensure people with disabilities have the support they need to survive. In addition to Hassan, the bill is sponsored by Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY.
In the meantime, we love our dedicated caregivers that do their work quietly, lovingly and around the clock.