As I talk with member CEOs across the country, I often hear about acute workforce shortages.
This is not new. But there’s a heightened sense of urgency for many whose direct care workforce shortages are worse now than before—or even during—the height of the pandemic.
CEOs often cite low government reimbursement rates that keep direct care wages low and their concern that policymakers don’t understand the extent of the workforce crisis or the implications for the health and well-being of the one in 50 Americans we care for.
There are two key aspects of the broad “budget reconciliation” bill that is currently being finalized by House lawmakers that relate to workforce:
- $190 billion in home and community-based services for older adults and people with disabilities that includes provisions to increase wages and benefits for direct care workers
- $1.48 billion to fund grants to entities including nonprofits with experience in aging and disability to recruit and retain direct care workers including raising wages and creating training opportunities to address the direct care workforce shortage
In addition, the WORK NOW Act would provide a $50 billion grant program to provide funding for nonprofit health and human services organizations to pay wages, salaries and benefits to retain staff and meet the greatest demand for services.
These provisions won’t solve the workforce crisis. But they provide funding for the workforce and a recognition of the importance of the workforce and connection to government reimbursement rates.
As a faith-based network, our voice, which places people at the center of our advocacy, is an important voice in Washington—one that’s needed now more than ever. With support, we can ensure that the provisions are included in the budget reconciliation package and make a significant difference across the country.
Join us now by sending a message to Congress through our quick and easy advocacy tool.
By Charlotte Haberaecker, President and CEO