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RFP for Regional Direct Care Workforce Center
August 12, 2004

Pennsylvania has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Regional Direct Care Workforce Center demonstration project in Washington, Greene, and Fayette counties. The proposal (RFP#BWDP-2004-2) is due by September 10 to the Department of Labor and Industry, Bureau of Administrative Services.

The purpose of the Regional Center is to bring together the various functions associated with recruiting and retaining direct care workers in the allied health field, particularly as it relates to improving job quality and the quality of care provided. The center would provide the following services to workers, consumers and provider organizations:

  • Regional Registry of Direct Care Workers: individuals (including consumer-directed, independently employed, persons seeking employment, and agency-employed workers) as well as provider agencies would be invited to join the registry.
  • Offer access to entry-level training for direct care workers and to more advanced training in more specific areas of care giving including long-term care, mental health, and mental retardation.
  • Provide health insurance to individuals and to the employees of enrolled providers.
  • Increase the earning potential of the direct care worker by enabling them to work for a variety of organizations and individuals. The center will support efforts to increase earnings with services such as scheduling workers and job sharing.
  • Provide various administrative services to assist direct care workers and consumers such as payroll and health insurance. Providers may also use the center for administrative functions.
  • Provide childcare and other supportive services such as peer mentoring and peer-to-peer discussion group.

The vendor will work with the Department of Labor and Industry, Governor’s Office of Health Care Reform, local Workforce Investment Boards, and other demonstration projects. Specific duties will include developing a management structure, procuring necessary staff, locating and managing a physical location, contacting all stakeholders in the three-county area, maintain financial and program data, develop reports, and arrange for a project evaluation. Direct care worker representation in the design and governance of the project is essential.

For a copy of the proposal contact Linda Drummond at PCPA or access an electronic copy at www.dgsapp.state.pa.us/comod/bids/bwdp.20042.pdf.

Concerns/Issues with this RFP:
PCPA is aware of the controversy regarding this Request for Proposal and will be working with the other state-level provider associations to clarify the issues. The main concern is the fact that this RFP “mirrors” a proposal made to the state by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). A broad coalition of consumer and advocacy groups representing a wide range of people with disabilities has recently gone on record in a letter to Department of Public Welfare Secretary Richman opposing this approach to resolving the workforce crisis. Advocates feel that most programs for persons with disabilities are funded exclusively with limited state and federal dollars. Promising higher wages and costly benefits can only be obtained by reducing or eliminating services to others and therefore the loss of jobs for their direct support workers.

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