September 12 – 18 marks the celebration of DSP (Direct Support Professional) week in our nation…
and we can’t think of a better time to call on you, our community to advocate! We are asking you to take some action. Don’t worry, it’s really easy and takes less than 3 minutes. Yep, we timed it. 🙂
But first, we want to cover why this is so important at this specific time!
For decades, New York state has not invested enough to sustain essential supports and services for New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The nonprofit agencies that provide these supports are funded almost entirely by Medicaid, and more than 70 percent of their costs go directly to wages for staff who provide direct care. Without adequate funding, I/DD providers are unable to offer competitive wages to recruit and retain the skilled direct support staff that provides the foundation of care for more than 140,000 New Yorkers with I/DD. The existing workforce crisis escalated dramatically in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without immediate action, this emergency will continue to force service reductions, program closures, and loss of care for people with I/DD throughout the state.
DSPs are the backbone of services for New Yorkers with I/DD. DSP staff shortages directly impact people with I/DD and put this vital system of supports in jeopardy! They are highly skilled essential workers and a critical component of New York’s public health system. They deserve a living wage and immediate action is needed from the state to address the current crisis and implement long-term solutions!
Today we are asking you to help us celebrate DSP week by clicking this link and advocating to our legislatures!
It is so easy to do. Once you click the link, talking points are given. One-click methods make it easy for you to email our senators and congressman. Click through the process and be led to opportunities to call and Tweet. You can email, call and tweet all three representatives in 3 minutes! That includes leaving phone messages!
Wait! You’ve hung with us this long so one more very important thing!
Please do all you can to support the Better Care Better Better Jobs Act (BCBJA) introduced in June. This legislation would include a major investment of $400 Billion for states to expand access to Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) and addresses the decade-long workforce crisis and our current emergency.
The truth is, we don’t like to complain and we don’t like to dwell on what isn’t working. We believe in the power of positivity so you don’t hear us talk often about how hard these issues have been on our staff, and the people we support. DSPs all over the country, all over the state, like our own gold star team step forward week after week to cover open shifts far above and beyond their 40-hour shift. We need your voice. We need you to advocate.
So click that link, jump on that phone, be an informed voter! Whatever it takes to support this non-partisan issue that affects the lives of our families, friends and loved ones!