The human services sector is facing a historic workforce shortage of direct support professionals (DSPs), made worse by the pandemic. “The job is unsustainable financially for so many employees,” says Miki Herman, Interim Kerr CEO. “We desperately need the State of Oregon to show they value the vital work DSPs do daily by establishing competitive wages.”
Much of the work DSPs do to care for people experiencing I/DD is reimbursed by Medicaid, a jointly funded federal and state program that covers health costs for low-income and disabled individuals. But low rates mean staff earn low wages—which leads to high turnover for provider agencies.
While Kerr has worked to increase DSP wages, the State of Oregon’s limits on fixed reimbursement rates do not allow human services providers to offer competitive, equitable living wages. As a result, Kerr faces an unprecedented lack of qualified employees.
“This is about doing the right thing to ensure our community’s most vulnerable citizens have access to high-quality care,” Herman says.
“It’s time for the state to value caregiving with compensation reflective of this challenging work.”
Please write and/or call your state representative and ask them to take immediate action to significantly increase reimbursement rates for
the services provided by DSPs.
Look up your state representatives here: https://gov.oregonlive.com/legislators/