An Industry in Crisis
One of the issues that my clients discuss repeatedly is the current staffing shortage affecting the industry. I have personally experienced this as part of an executive team and it is a very complicated issue. There is a shortage of qualified workers and budget cuts across the board. These complications are leading to facility closures and the end result means that patients suffer in the long run. In New York state, for example, it’s costing upwards of $100 million a year to handle the staffing crisis after the Great Resignation, according to a recent survey by New York Disability Advocates. Frankly put, the industry is in crisis!
These issues pose real challenges to anyone in the IDD community. Waitlists are long and families are needing more services and support than what is readily available, causing a bottle neck effect. How can clients move off the waitlist if there is not enough staff to care for patients? Employees are looking for better pay and benefits, but limited budgets and high overhead mean hands are tied at the leadership level. In order to support increased funding, Medicaid and HCBS rates would need to increase. For a level six participant in a day program that will need one-on-one support, only $30.20 per hour can currently be billed. Respite can only be billed at $25.76 per hour, which does not include any agency costs needed to cover for medication administration requirements. These issues are making it more and more challenging to remain competitive with other industries and I fear that the IDD community will be in serious hiring trouble if this issue is not addressed.
So how can professionals in the industry make a difference? Personally, I am working hard to get more involved with stakeholder engagement and government relations. Part of my mission is to attend at least five events across a variety of different committees, stakeholder hearings, and government relations meetings per month. I encourage all of you to become involved in your community because our voices need to be heard to make effective change!