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What you need to know: Council News

LTSS Report Highlights Direct Care Workforce – Council Leadership Noted

Friday, May 13, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lisa Gurgone
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On May 10th, the Council participated in a forum on the Massachusetts Long-Term Services and Supports system hosted by the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute (MMPI), a program of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.  During this event, MMPI released their new report entitled, Massachusetts Long-Term Services and Supports: Achieving a New Vision for MassHealth. This report, prepared by Manatt Health, lays out a vision for MassHealth long-term services and supports (LTSS) that is person-centered, integrated, sustainable, accountable, and actionable, providing Massachusetts policymakers with a set of options to consider when tackling some of the most intractable challenges facing the Commonwealth’s LTSS system. 

This report recommends reforming our current LTSS system in seven foundational ways:
  • Create an infrastructure that drives integration of LTSS with other services on the care continuum
  • Assess and learn from existing programs and data
  • Identify and implement meaningful quality measures
  • Improve access to LTSS information and services for consumers and their families
  • Increase support for informal caregivers
  • Enhance direct-care workforce capacity
  • Expand access to affordable housing with supports
Within their summary of ways to “Enhance Direct-Care Workforce Capacity”, the report highlights current and previous initiatives to better support the direct-care workforce. The Council is pleased to report that our association and grant from Tufts Health Plan Foundation to study the home care workforce, along with the Massachusetts Personal and Home Care Aide State Training (PHCAST) Initiative, were noted in this section.  The three main recommendations for future work in this area included were:
  • Build on the state’s commitment to increase PCA wages to $15 an hour and set a goal to establish a minimum wage for all direct-care workers in all care settings
  • Support or facilitate efforts to professionalize the workforce, including offering benefits (e.g., health insurance, travel reimbursement, paid time off, sick leave), full-time employment opportunities, and standardized orientation and ongoing skills trainings
  • Construct and communicate a clear career ladder for the direct-care workforce to promote recruitment and retention of workers in this field. The career ladder must include the opportunity for upward mobility to advance to positions such as a medical technician or CNA
Click here to download a copy of this report.  A data chart pack outlining the vision and policy areas addressed in the report, including a one-page fact sheet, is also available.