Title: Improving Data to Support the Home- and Community-Based Workforce
National Family Caregivers Month is an opportune time to recognize the invaluable contributions of the home- and community-based workforce. These dedicated professionals provide crucial care and support services for older adults and individuals with disabilities. However, despite their immense importance, this workforce faces numerous challenges, including inadequate compensation, limited benefits, and high turnover rates. To address these issues, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Labor are taking steps to improve data on this workforce, with the aim of informing policy decisions, enhancing job quality, and expanding access to high-quality care.
The Need for Enhanced Data:
The Executive Order signed by President Biden in April 2023 recognized the significant role played by home- and community-based service providers. The order highlighted the necessity of comprehensive data to improve job quality and guide policymakers. Currently, the available data is often incomplete or unavailable. Additionally, the inability to break down data by state hampers understanding the impact of Medicaid and other policies. To address these limitations, a workgroup comprising experts from various agencies has been established to identify key priorities and recommend ways to fill the existing knowledge gaps.
Collaboration with Stakeholders:
Engaging with stakeholders remains a crucial aspect of this data improvement initiative. The workgroup values contributions from consumers, their families, direct care workers, unions, advocacy and provider organizations, state leaders, and other stakeholders. Their input is essential in determining the data requirements necessary to support the workforce, meet growing demand, and enhance access to high-quality services. By incorporating different perspectives, the workgroup aims to develop innovative solutions while maximizing existing data sources.
The Impact of Better Data:
Improving data on the home- and community-based workforce can have transformative effects on the industry. Enhanced data can lead to more accurate policy decisions and shed light on the impacts of these policies over time. With the ability to track and analyze the workforce’s dynamics, stakeholders can identify critical areas for improvement and allocate resources more effectively. Additionally, detailed data at the state level can help identify disparities caused by various Medicaid and policy frameworks. By addressing these disparities, steps can be taken to ensure equitable access to services for individuals with disabilities and older adults.
Investing in the home- and community-based workforce is not only crucial for the wellbeing of individuals requiring care, but also for the overall strength of our families, workforce, and economy. To make informed decisions and advancements in this field, better data is needed. By addressing the gaps in existing data sources and incorporating stakeholder input, the workgroup aims to release recommendations that will improve job quality, enhance access to services, and meet the growing demand for care. This commitment to coherence, efficiency, and equity will undoubtedly have a positive impact on both the workforce and those who rely on their invaluable services.
1. U.S. Department of Labor. (n.d.). Improving Data to Support the Home- and Community-Based Workforce. Retrieved from [insert URL]
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Executive Order on Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and Supporting Caregivers. Retrieved from [insert URL]