From the desk of Mark Lashley, CEO, Caregiver Inc.
As anyone reading this knows, since late last year all business’ across all states are facing significant staffing challenges. Food service, warehouses, trucking and airlines have all been highlighted on national news for the severity of their workforce openings. Services for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities are facing the same critical shortages, however, have not received the same level of media coverage as some of these other industries.
The good news is that the President signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law on March 11, 2021, which provided states with millions of dollars to spend to recruit and retain staff in Home and Community Based Services, like those provided by Caregiver. And to date, every state where Caregiver provides services, EXCEPT TEXAS, has passed these funds on to providers resulting in increased wages or sign-on and retention bonuses for Direct Support Professionals.
We send our sincerest thank you to Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio and Indiana for supporting Direct Support Professionals and those we serve through these challenging times by taking action.
For those residing in Texas, unfortunately the people we support and the Direct Support Professionals we employ have not received the same support from the state.
As of the end of April 2022, Texas has not passed on desperately needed funds received through ARPA. Further, Texas currently reimburses providers allowing for an average hourly rate of $8.11 per hour for Direct Support Professionals, which is well below any other industry (fast food, grocery, gas stations, nursing facilities) pay in all of our Texas markets. Caregiver generally pays higher than this in all markets, but can only do so much without the state’s help.
Caregiver has been and continues to work very hard to get Texas to release these desperately needed funds. We understand employees and guardians frustration and quite frankly we share it. We advocate on this issue every single day and will soon enable anyone reading this to easily advocate, as well. We expect to post a link very soon allowing you to join in on our fight.
Chief Executive Officer, Caregiver