Direct Care Demonstration Secures Funding in House Appropriations Bill
Workforce | July 14, 2021 | by Andrea Price-Carter
On July 14, 2021, the House Committee on Appropriations, released its report language accompanying the fiscal year 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (Labor-HHS), and Related Agencies appropriations bills. The bill, which was advanced by a voice vote in Subcommittee on July 12, 2021, includes in the report language a LeadingAge priority which provides a $3 million funding allocation for the implementation of a Direct Care Workforce Demonstration (p. 225).
Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV), a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, championed the Direct Care Workforce Demonstration in her list of priorities for the fiscal year, at the request of LeadingAge. Additionally, LeadingAge worked with the House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA), who included the project in his annual budget letter to the appropriators.
The 2020 Older Americans Act Reauthorization bill authorized the Administration for Community Living (ACL), in coordination with the Department of Labor (DOL), to implement the Direct Care Workforce Demonstration. The Committee provides $3 million for the demonstration project to help reduce barriers to entry for a diverse and high-quality direct care workforce, including providing wages, benefits, and advancement opportunities needed to attract or retain direct care workers.
While the $3 million is not enough for programs in every state across the nation, the demonstrations could be used to prove the concept of what issues and approaches are effective. Then they could shift to competitive innovation projects in a number of states to test various concepts, situations with different populations and needs based on the research and knowledge they gathered from the demonstrations. This is a good roadmap for the development of the programs that are effective and achieve the intended goal and one that could be used to advance and improve the direct care workforce.
LeadingAge will continue to advocate for the Direct Care Demonstration Project to remain in the FY 2022 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill as it moves to the full committee and the Floor.