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MLTSS Association Launches New Workgroup to Develop Policy Proposals to Address the Direct Care Workforce Crisis

05-12-2023 01:16 PM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: National MLTSS Health Plan Association

The National MLTSS Health Plan Association ("MLTSS Association") has launched a new Direct Care Workforce Workgroup.

The National MLTSS Health Plan Association ("MLTSS Association") has launched a new Direct Care Workforce Workgroup.

WASHINGTON, DC - In January 2023, the National MLTSS Health Plan Association ("MLTSS Association") launched a new Direct Care Workforce Workgroup focused on developing policy proposals to equitably address the shortage of direct care workers for individuals with long-term services and supports (LTSS) needs, chaired by Rachel Turner Chinetti (Elevance Health) and Kris Kubnick (Inclusa, Inc.). Critical to this effort is the exchange of insights and expertise with the MLTSS Association Partnership Program.

Despite increased demand for long-term services and supports (LTSS), a shortage of direct care workers remains a significant challenge for beneficiaries, states, health plans, providers, and workers themselves. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened the shortage and shone a light on existing issues with recruitment and retention of direct care workers, such as low wages and limited career development opportunities. In 2021, there were 4.7 million direct care workers in the U.S. However, it is projected that between 2020 and 2030, 7.9 million new and existing direct care positions will need to be filled (PHI).

Meaningful action to address direct care workforce shortages requires partnership and collaboration between states, health plans, and providers. As more states move to managed long-term services and supports (MLTSS), managed care organizations (MCOs) are increasingly responsible for developing a network of providers that have the capacity to support the growing population of people who need LTSS. During the first annual MLTSS Leadership Summit in October 2022, it became clear that the direct care workforce crisis was the single most pressing issue that MLTSS plan, provider, and state government leaders were grappling with. Summit participants identified the MLTSS Association and its partners as well-positioned to provide thought leadership on policy solutions to address workforce challenges.

The workgroup will develop policy proposals to equitably address the direct care workforce crisis. The workgroup developed a framework of five key domains that the proposals will address - elevating the social value of DCWs' impact; recruitment; workforce development and retention; data collection, monitoring, and evaluation; and workforce alternatives - with technology and family caregiving/natural supports as cross-cutting themes. While the workgroup is primarily focused on formal supports, family caregivers and other informal supports will be woven throughout the framework given the critical role they play to support people with LTSS needs.

The workgroup will also publish a white paper that captures best practices for health plans and providers to optimize the direct care workforce and offers policy solutions that can facilitate these practices for other providers. The workgroup will seek to offer a unique MLTSS plan lens on potential opportunities and best practices to address workforce challenges, including how MLTSS plans can be effective partners in designing and implementing solutions.

The MLTSS Association looks forward to engaging with our partners and other stakeholders to advance policy solutions on this timely issue that affects everyone in America.

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601 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 520W
Washington, DC 20001

If you have questions about the MLTSS Association Direct Care Workforce Workgroup or are interested in joining the MLTSS Association, please contact Christina Wu (cwu@mltss.org).

The National MLTSS Health Plan Association ("MLTSS Association") is the leading organization in Washington, DC promoting Medicaid managed long-term services and supports (MLTSS) and integrated care. We represent health plans that contract with states to provide long-term services and supports to beneficiaries through the Medicaid program.

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