female gp with patient
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The Department of Health and Human Services and Administration for Community Living on Tuesday announced an array of new programs to support direct care workers caring for patients in their homes.

“Urgent action is needed to address the shortage of direct care professionals, which is threatening to reverse decades of progress in community living,” Alison Barkoff, administrator of the Administration for Community Living, said in a statement.

HHS and ACL’s initiatives include two technical assistance opportunities to help states improve their recruitment, retainment and development of direct care workers. The first, DCW Intensive Technical Assistance, will deploy experts to educate states on how to get the most value out of various workforce initiatives funded by the American Rescue Plan Act. The other, DCW Peer-Learning Collaboratives, will involve monthly virtual meetings where stakeholders can discuss best practices and innovative strategies for expanding the direct care workforce.

Also on Tuesday, the ACL launched its DCW Strategies Center website, which aims to serve as a hub for direct care workforce resources. Information about best practices and strategies, as well as news of upcoming events such as webinars or technical assistance panels have been made available to states, providers and other stakeholders in need of resources to grow and support their direct care workforce. On March 7, the DCW Strategies Center will begin a technical assistance webinar series addressing workforce recruitment, retainment and development, according to an announcement.

The new ventures are part of HHS’ Health Workforce Initiative, announced in July, which invested $2.7 billion in programs to augment healthcare employment across all sectors of the industry. 

The direct care workforce is one of the fastest-growing employment segments in the United States. In July, House lawmakers reintroduced the Direct Creation, Advancement and Retention of Employment Act, which would inject almost $2 billion into efforts to recruit and train direct care workers.