The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) recently conducted a comprehensive survey and listening session to assess the state’s substance use disorder (SUD) workforce. The Workforce Climate Survey results reveal a substantial workforce shortage, with 84% of the nearly 500 respondents citing it as a significant problem. The vacancy rate for SUD positions averaged 18%, with notable variations based on organization size and location. Larger, well-established non-profit organizations in metropolitan areas reported higher vacancy rates, and critical positions, such as counselors, nurses, entry-level professionals, and peer specialists, were particularly challenging to fill. Recruitment and retention issues were attributed to limited applicant pools and difficulties in offering competitive compensation.
The survey participants offered recommendations for both short and long-term solutions. These recommendations included increasing reimbursement rates, reducing education and experience requirements, alleviating paperwork burdens, and expanding student loan forgiveness and tuition reimbursement programs. In response to these findings, DDAP plans to use the survey data to inform its state plan, regulatory reform, and the allocation of opioid settlement funding. The department’s future efforts will focus on increasing the supply of addiction professionals, leveraging technology, addressing workforce distribution across the state, and enhancing workforce resilience to support Pennsylvania’s SUD workforce better and mitigate the ongoing overdose crisis.
CDC has launched a new four-year phase of funding for the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, the only collaborative network to track the number and characteristics of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities in multiple communities throughout the United States. Over the next four years, CDC will invest more than $20 million to continue tracking at nine sites previously included in the ADDM Network, while also launching activities at one new site.
All 10 sites will track ASD among 4-year-old and 8-year-old children. Four of the sites will also track transition planning and co-occurring conditions among 16-year-old children with ASD. In addition to the 10 funded sites, our CDC-managed site in Georgia, the Metropolitan Developmental Disabilities Surveillance Program (MADDSP), will also conduct ASD surveillance activities among 4-, 8-, and 16-year-old children.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a new report that highlights patients’ experience of Long COVID to better understand its complexities and drive creative responses by government leaders, clinicians, patient advocates, and others. The Health+ Long COVID Report builds on President Biden’s Memorandum on Addressing the Long-Term Effects of COVID-19 and the two previously issued HHS Long COVID reports. The report was commissioned by HHS and produced by Coforma, an independent third-party design and research agency. It provides recommendations on how to deliver high-quality care and relevant and intentional resources and supports to individuals and families impacted by Long COVID.
Last week, the Administration sent a $750 million dollar supplemental funding request to Congress to support Long COVID research and treatment. This funding request would support HHS and their continued work on Long COVID, providers who serve patients with Long COVID and its associated conditions, and community-based organizations that assist with case management and provide other essential services and supports.
The report offers a variety of short-term and longer-term recommendations that come directly from the patient experience.