There is a concern for Maryland's shortage of healthcare workers
A fast-growing senior population in Maryland is driving demand for health care workers. Now the Maryland Regional Direct Services Collaborative (MRDSC) thinks there is a crisis.
George Berkheimer's report on service workers for health care in Maryland shows, "Personal care aides, home health aides and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) constitute one-third of the total health care workforce." These workers currently provide "assistance to 15% of Maryland adults aged 65 or older."
Health care workers are now "in such short supply that the MRDSC has declared the situation a crisis." The MRDSC, a part of Rodham Institute at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences in the District of Columbia, has a mission to assure "the availability of trained direct services workers across Maryland and the District of Columbia and is leading the effort to address the shortage." Data shows that Maryland will need 40% more direct service workers by 2024, so the MRDSC is focusing its efforts on recruitment and retention to address the enormous challenge.
To draw attention to the lack of health care service workers in Maryland, the MRDSC launched an awareness campaign to advance policies to "improve direct service worker wages and benefits, address workforce vacancies and shortages, and reduce turnover. It is also pursuing regional policies to remove employment barriers and support workforce training."
The MRDSC has partnered with State Sen. Guy Guzzone, D-Howard, who is sponsoring new state legislation that resembles the national Direct Care Opportunity Act advanced by Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia.
Guzzone's bill is called The Direct Care Workforce Innovation Program, SB449. This legislation supports training and career pathways for workers. It establishes a $250,000 innovation fund available to community-based organizations to help recruitment and retention of direct service workers through training, transportation assistance, or other means. The innovation fund has matching grants of up to $50,000 for eligible nonprofits.
Guzzone compares the direct service crisis to the behavioral health crisis and believes it is "something critical that we need in our communities." Guzzone reminds us that we "are likely to need some support of this nature at some point in our lives," so the availability of health care workers impacts us all.
Home care companies like BrightStar Care of Howard County have home health care jobs available. CNAs must complete 70 hours of training to meet the Board of Nursing's state requirements. The Howard County Public School System's Academy of Health Professions provides CNA training and certification. Later this year, the public school systems and Baltimore health care providers will launch a model apprenticeship program also.
To learn more about the state's need for direct service workers visit: https://marylandreporter.com/2020/02/17/state-faces-crisis-in-getting-direct-service-workers-for-health-care/
BrightStar Care provides Medical Staffing and 24/7 to Hourly Home Health Care.
BrightStar Care of Howard County offers a full continuum of private duty home health care services, including companionship, personal care, transportation, medication assistance, and skilled nursing. We proudly serve Howard County, Columbia, Ellicott City, Laurel, Frederick, Clarksville, Westminster, Fulton, and Savage areas.
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