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TPA Legislative Appreciation & ID/A Awareness Forum - 04/23/2021 - Shared screen with speaker view
Anita Kulik
Merakey is in my district. I am so happy to hear how well the staff handled COVID for the residents.
Megan Scott
It is wonderful to hear these examples of how kind and generous the staff is and it's nice to 'see' everyone here this morning.Camera Bartolotta
Rep. Dan Miller
DSPs showed up for work, challenging, life sustaining work, underpaid and struggling for protection, despite the best efforts of advocates. Rates and salaries must increase!
Megan Scott
Rep. Dan Miller.... Amen and agreed!!!
Juane Tyler
Thank you Liz for providing such a heartfelt message on how important staff are to you!
Juane Tyler
DSPs do need an increase in their rate. It is far overdo…
Gary (Speaker)
Before the pandemic, turnover (people leaving jobs within the first year) was at 40% or higher. During the pandemic, providers are experiencing turnover rates exceeding 70% to 80%. The low rate, poverty wages and difficult work is making it impossible to staff new all shifts and find enough people to hire. People with disabilities, living in their own homes, often don't know who (or if anyone) will show up for the next shift to assist them in intensely personal and private hygiene and care matters.
Paulette Miller
It is very difficult to fill vacancies as we are competing with the corporate world who pays more than we can. I have to start a waiting list for requested services for the first time in 25 years. The lack of fair pay is erasing years of progress. Please help! Paulette Miller Exec Dir BCRC
Gary (Speaker)
There are funds available in the American Rescue Plan to help states address its budget crisis and also targeted monies for Home and Community Based programs. Funds coming from the federal government include: The American Rescue Plan includes:• $7.3 Billion for budget holes• $2.3 Billion in increased FMAP for the duration of the pandemic and public health emergency• 10% additional FMAP increase for HCBS programs, including $740 million that must be spent in the HCBS area including ID/A and elder services.
William Harriger
There is a great pay equity issue in Pennsylvania, the State employed Direct Support Professionals (DSP) (1,140 of them) have a starting pay rate of $16.05 and as they receive annual cost of living increases as well as annual increases from having an additional year of service with the state, the average hourly rate paid is almost $20.00
Gary (Speaker)
and waiting list issues remain high with 13000 people on the waiting list with over 5000 people in emergency crisis. Serving more people is very challenging when the rate remains so low. Providers can not recruit, hire or retain enough DSPs. This is a crisis. 8 out of 10 DSPs during the pandemic quit their jobs due to the low wages, and difficultities of the job.
William Harriger
Private providers such as those on this zoom meeting have a starting wage between 12-14 and an average pay recognizing years of experiences in the 15-16 range
Gary (Speaker)
some legislators are reluctant to use American Rescue Plan dollars fearing it will create future debt. ID/A community is asking for a one year early start on the refresh. If ARP funds are used for beginning ODP rate refresh dollars one year early, the continuing dollars will accounted for by the setting of rates for the future years providing out year funding. This is an expected cost built into DHS expenditure expectations for next year and beyond.
Ruth Siegfried (Speaker)
Employees would prefer to get the same earnings without the overtime - and their health would improve in that event. Our services would be enhanced as a result as well.
Karen Jacobsen
It's a matter of values. Do we value caregiving? Do we value the lives of our State's most vulnerable citizens? If yes - then we need to allocate resources accordingly. Better education and training MUST be part of this equation. College loan forgiveness would go a long way towards our DSP recruitment and retention efforts.
Ruth Siegfried (Speaker)
The legislation requiring an index utilized to make annual rate adjustments would most directly impact wages
Juane Tyler
Karen, I agree with you.
Senator Amanda M. Cappelletti
Thank you all for sharing your stories and your time with us. I look forward to working with you and my colleagues to finding real solutions to best support the community. I have another meeting to get to, but I have staff here to keep me up to date.
Ruth Siegfried (Speaker)
HB92 is the legislation requiring an index utilized to make annual rate adjustments would most directly impact wages
Ruth Siegfried (Speaker)
We are already in crisis
Ruth Siegfried (Speaker)
The problem with unionization is that we have hundreds of private providers and the DSPs would have to walk out on the people they support if they were to make the impression needed - and they are too professional and caring to leave people with disabilities vulnerable in that way
William Harriger
We are 100% reimbursed by the State with State and Federal dollars. Unlike healthcare providers, we cannot "cost shift" to other payors like Medicare, HighMark Aetna, UPMC etc
Shawn Ryan
As everyone is aware a living wage for our DSP's will make all of our communities stronger. This will help the many main streets in PA as our employees also live in these communities.
William Harriger
Residential providers are 100% responsible for the health and safety of those we serve but are 100% dependent on funding from Harrisburg to give us the resources to meet those responsibilities and needs.
Megan Scott
So sorry I have to jump off.
Megan Scott
Thanks for all you do. I look forward to working with my colleagues to bring funding to these vital workers!
William Harriger
LaToscha, you are awesome!!!
Juane Tyler
Thank you LaToscha for all you do! You are amazing…
Walter Were
Thank you all for your spirited efforts and advocacy for DSPs.
Rep. Dan Miller
Thank you everyone for your passion and your work!
Anita Kulik
Thank you!