The Amputee Coalition was one of 34 national organizations to sign on to the American Association of People with Disabilities’ (ANCOR) letter expressing support for Recognizing the Role of Direct Support Professionals Act (S. 1332) to senate leaders. This legislation aims to help in creating a standard occupational classification for direct support professionals (DSPs).
The letter states that this will be a first step in addressing a longstanding workforce crisis that threatens individuals with disabilities’ access to critical supports and services through the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) program.
Due to a high turnover rate among DSPs which has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, many people with disabilities are left without consistent access to critical support.
The current occupational classification system directly impacts state and federal agencies’ Medicaid HCBS policy decisions, including the determination of payment rates, which can have negative longstanding effects on the retention and recruitment for the DSP workforce.
Since there is no code for DSPs at present, states blend a variety of current and retired codes in an attempt to account for the wide array of DSP activities. This has led to further inconsistency in DSP wage trends. The letter makes the argument that a unique occupational code will aid in the retention of DSPs by providing a foundation for rate-setting and stabilizing wages. It will also ensure the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics can accurately capture employment and wage data specific to the profession, which will in turn assist federal and state policymakers to inform and impact future policy.
For more details on the importance of a code for DSPs, view the full letter here. Visit our Advocacy Letters to Policymakers webpage to view other letters the Amputee Coalition has endorsed.