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2007 Overview: Disability System Financial and Employment Issues
June 7, 2007

Each year PCPA advocates on behalf of its members with legislators and state officials for financial stability of state funding. The financial resources available to providers and the providers’ ability to retain competent and trained staff have a direct correlation to the health and safety of individuals relying on community supports. The Disability System Financial and Employment Issues Overview prepared by PCPA reviews issues and recommendations regarding the high levels of staff turnover and vacancy in the human services field, provides a review of funding streams, and summarizes state and national surveys/reports on these issues.

The "Employment/Staff Issues" section of the report looks at state and federal surveys and PCPA’s member survey to determine issues and possible solutions to recruiting and maintaining staff, especially direct care professionals. Populations included in PCPA’s survey are mental health, mental retardation, juvenile justice, drug and alcohol, autism, physical and sensory disabilities, co-occurring drug/alcohol and mental health, and dually diagnosed mental health and mental retardation. Respondents providing information include those who provide treatment, supported living, residential, family living, early intervention, crisis intervention, geriatric services, day services, acute care, case management, and sheltered and supported employment.

Several legislative initiatives have been reintroduced during FY 2007 and their passage is important to the ability of providers to employ necessary direct care staff. These include:

  • Federal House Resolution 1279 – Direct Support Professionals Fairness and Security Act – offering wage enhancement for services funded under the Medicaid program, and
  • Pennsylvania Senate Bill 538 – Mental Health and Mental Retardation Direct Care Workers’ Minimum Salary Act – to set a minimum hourly wage at $8.65 or $18,000 annually.

A copy of the report is available fromthe link above.

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