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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 4, 2023 10:35 PM
From: Representative Dan L. Miller and Rep. Robert W. Mercuri, Rep. Brandon J. Markosek
To: All House members
Subject: ID/A Market Index for DSP Services (former HB 92)
Making our government more efficient and effective often means innovating ways to more closely align bureaucratic processes with best practice solutions. PA’s method of compensating our invaluable Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) is one such opportunity. Over 55,000 Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities and autism need some assistance during the day to reach their highest level of independence and opportunity. These people and their families rely upon our committed DSPs to support some of the most personal tasks and make sure they live safely while engaging in the community. Often, our DSPs become like family to their clients.
Sadly, if you looked at the pay DSPs receive in Pennsylvania you would not know how critical they are to those who need their services. Despite the best efforts of many, some great staff leave the profession due to necessity in order to support themselves and their families. This often leads to a very high staff turnover rate even amongst our best providers, which often has a negative effect on their clients.
Current law requires a three-year refresh of market-based data in order to adopt a fee schedule, but there is no requirement for Pennsylvania to change rates at all - no matter what happens to inflation. For many providers, even a small inflationary increase often has troubling ramifications.
To help stabilize this workforce and provide better care for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism, we will soon introduce legislation to amend the Human Services Code requiring that rates annually be set based on a national market consumer index. The adoption of a nationally recognized market index will help provide stability to this system, and also support the hard-working DSPs that are essential to the delivery of services for Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities and autism.
Notably, during the COVID-19 pandemic these workers went above and beyond to make sure their clients are taken care of and not isolated, even at some risk to themselves. The importance of these roles during the most recent crisis, demonstrates the need for retention and competitiveness in compensation structure; by indexing these rates to inflation, we can provide greater pay and predictability for these deserving workers in this field.

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Introduced as HB661