Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Council Announces Blueprint for Strengthening Pennsylvania’s Direct Care Workforce

May 09, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Today, the Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Council (LTCC) released its Blueprint for Strengthening Pennsylvania’s Direct Care Workforce – a culmination of more than a year of work by the council and its committees to propose how to best address the commonwealth’s escalating direct care workforce crisis. The LTCC is a 35-member body charged with making recommendations on regulations, licensure, financing, or any other responsibilities of the departments and agencies that relate to Pennsylvania’s long-term services and supports system (LTSS).

“Now is the time to take action on addressing Pennsylvania’s growing need for direct care workers,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “I believe that many of the blueprint’s recommendations and strategies can be achieved through Restore Pennsylvania and my proposal to increase the minimum wage.”

The Pennsylvania Council on Aging voted unanimously to support the blueprint and the goals it sets out to achieve. A letter of support for the blueprint will soon be sent from the Council on Aging, to Governor Wolf and the General Assembly.

“Each Long-Term Care Council and committee member was essential to the development of the blueprint and ensuring a comprehensive approach,” said Acting Secretary of Aging Robert Torres. “As chair of the LTCC, I am grateful for everyone’s efforts to put forth goals and recommendations that drive much-needed change.”

The blueprint was developed after the LTCC voted to adopt the priority of recruitment and retention of direct care workers during its meeting on August 24, 2017. The goals include providing a living wage, enhancing the utilization of technologies, raising awareness, improving data collection, enhancing workplace culture, expanding the pool of potential workers, and better equipping direct care workers to meet the challenges of the profession.

Some of the recommendations to achieve these goals include:

• Establishing a minimum starting wage of $15 an hour for direct care workers by 2025, with annual increases thereafter indexed to inflation.

• Expanding the availability and coverage of technology supports for both direct care workers and LTSS participants by improving the dissemination of information on technology for direct care, and providing greater investment in existing state supported programs.

• Establishing a standardized core training and credentialing system for direct care workers, which provides career pathways throughout the continuum of LTSS.

All recommendations developed by the council and its four committees – Access, Outreach, Quality, and Workforce – are the result of dialogue with direct care workers, consumers, providers, managed care health plans, and workforce experts. These recommendations are reflected to a large extent in previous Pennsylvania-based reports.

In addition, Gov. Wolf will be tasking the Workforce Development Command Center to explore and carry out other recommendations made by the council.

The LTCC finalized the blueprint and voted unanimously to support it during its meeting on April 18. Support for the blueprint is representative only of the Long-Term Care Council’s position and does not signify support of the council members’ organizations.

You can access the Blueprint for Strengthening Pennsylvania’s Direct Care Workforce by visiting the Department of Aging’s website under “related reports and studies.”

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