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AMPing it Up!

by: 
Barbara Merrill, Esq.
Barbara Merrill

I need a commitment from you – if it’s not already, this needs to be your new mantra: Waiting Lists? Workforce Crisis. Block Grants? Workforce Crisis. Per Capita Caps? Workforce Crisis. Managed Care? Workforce Crisis. HCBS Settings Rule? Workforce Crisis. Home Care Rule? Workforce Crisis. Overtime Rule? Workforce Crisis.

Got it? Ok, now I need you to broadcast it loud and clear, early and often. I know you got this, it’s been your refrain for years. It’s a powerful message! It was precisely this message delivered in extreme volume by ANCOR members and our SOS coalition partners to Congress and the Obama Administration that resulted in ANCOR securing from the US Department of Labor the only special accommodation for the Overtime rule granted to any employer group in the country. So now we need to further AMP it up  - this time the stakes are much higher than the threat of the Overtime Rule.

Here’s why: our collective ability to amplify this message is our best shot at communicating how any changes to the federal Medicaid entitlement will impact our services.  As Congress considers cutting the amount of federal dollars flowing to states for Medicaid services, their deliberations must be informed by a thorough understanding of the magnitude of the workforce crisis - how the crisis is negatively impacting the ability of providers to serve people in the least restrictive setting possible. And how the inability to recruit and retain Direct Support Professionals is preventing providers from being able to serve people on waiting lists.

Ok, back to the mantra, this time with more detail:

Waiting Lists? 45% National DSP Turnover Rate, 10% National Agency DSP Vacancy Rate. Block Grants? 45% National DSP Turnover Rate, 10% DSP Vacancy Rate. Per Capita Caps? 45% National DSP Turnover Rate, 10% DSP Vacancy Rate. HCBS Settings Rule? 45% National DSP Turnover rate, 10% DSP Vacancy rate. Overtime Rule? 45% National DSP Turnover Rate, 10% DSP Vacancy Rate.

Ready to step it up? Insert your organization’s turnover and vacancy rate. Always much more effective, but also add the national data to reinforce the scope of the issue. Need validation? Sign up for our webinar about the latest report from the National Core Indicators 2016 Staff Stability Report (validating the 45% Turnover rate). A picture tells a 1000 words and a video even more – share ANCOR’s national Cost of Compassion video located on our website here.  

So who’s the audience? Your members of Congress, governor, state agency IDD director, state Medicaid director, state legislators, your staff, the individuals and families you serve, your local and state self advocacy groups, your local state protection and advocacy agency, your state’s DD Council, your state’s University Center of Excellence and LEAD Centers, every state and national disability advocacy group you are affiliated with or work alongside – in short every advocacy group operating in our space. We will all be so much more effective if all of the stakeholders in our space are making the same argument – that any federal Medicaid reform must strengthen, not weaken, an already under compensated, highly fragile service delivery system. That Congress and the Administration do no harm.

Click on  the ANCOR amplifier here to send emails easily to your elected officials, but don’t stop there – educate all of the organizations listed above  –host meetings, organize rallies, pick up the phone and call people, email everyone on your contact list, submit an op ed or letter to your local paper – get through.

Here’s our promise to you – we’ll get you the information you need when you need it. We’ll continue to to meet with key members of Congress and the administration, and we’re already working to educate the media and our national disability association partners. (Stay tuned for an announcement for a Workforce Roundtable in the coming weeks.)

But we need your commitment that you will not just wait for our action alerts and specific grassroots requests – you will use this mantra and aggressively share it with all of your constituents, stakeholders, and policy makers.

Are you on board? Send me an email to make the pledge!

Barbara Merrill is CEO of ANCOR. She can be reached at bmerrill@ancor.org.