Direct Support Professionals are essential employees. They work tirelessly each and every day to care for and support those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Relief and funding are finally on the way to help support these essential professionals.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced in a press release that the New York Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) will provide over $1.5 billion in one-time American Rescue Plan Act Funding to help with retention and recruitment for Direct Support Professionals. Funding is also allocated for DSPs who are vaccinated and provide support for people with developmental disabilities. These are all efforts to help to address workforce shortages in this field.
"Direct Support Professionals provided essential support to people with developmental disabilities throughout the pandemic when we needed them most, in spite of the risk to themselves and their own families," Governor Hochul said. "We owe these workers a debt of gratitude and the American Rescue Plan funding paves the way for bonuses, incentives, and one-time pay raises to help keep these hardworking, loyal, and devoted workers doing what they love most, supporting people with developmental disabilities."
Some of the incentives and improvements OPWDD plan to invest the funding into include:
- A "Heroes Fund." There will be incentive payments to those DSPs who worked during the unprecedented pandemic with additional payments for those who received the COVID vaccine.
- Retention and longevity bonuses. Additional investments in the workforce will include rewarding longevity by providing additional bonuses to staff who remain in the DSP workforce.
- Long-term recruitment and retention strategies. This will allow for development and testing for projects that address the long-term stability of the workforce. Funding will be made available to incentivize credentialing and other strategies that build skills and competency of the DSP workforce and front-line supervisors.
"The shortage of direct support professionals has created a crisis for people with disabilities who cannot survive without them — managers are now doing the work they are supposed to supervise and programs are closing down. I applaud Governor Hochul's direct action to confront the emergency and jump-start recruitment and retention efforts with extraordinary funding," said in a recent press release.
At Hudson Regional LTC Pharmacy, we know how tirelessly DSPs work each and every day. We are glad to see Governor Hochul put these efforts into place to support those who have worked through the most unprecedented times the past two years. From the entire team at our pharmacy, we applaud each DSP and want to thank you for your dedication to the IDD community.