Disability Rights Wisconsin wishes to express its strong support for the Department of Health Services’ request to allocate a portion of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to increase the pay rates for home and community-based services (HCBS) delivered by paid staff by five percent. We urge the Committee to approve the request.
As the Protection and Advocacy system for people with disabilities in Wisconsin, we are uniquely positioned to see how the COVID pandemic has exacerbated what was already a critical shortage of workers willing to care for our most vulnerable citizens. The Department of Health Services has been working closely with advocates, including DRW, and the Long-Term Care Advisory Council to identify issues created by the workforce shortage and the impact on people with disabilities. DRW has been providing information about the many concerns we are seeing. The 5% rate increase DHS is proposing will certainly help address this exceedingly acute crisis.