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Action Needed for Direct Care Worker Database

Friday, May 14, 2021

Iowa's direct care givers, health professionals, and other "essential workers" like public bus drivers all deserve praise for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.  They risked their lives and their family's health to make sure individuals with disabilities and older Iowans were supported.  Surveys tell us that many direct care workers were burned out before the pandemic began, and there are concerns Iowa will lose more of these important professionals.  Iowa CareGivers is an association that represents these direct care workers; they asked the Legislature to consider expanding the current Direct Care Worker Registry in the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, and create a public portal that would allow Iowans to search for caregivers that meet their needs.  That portal would also allow caregivers to work in various settings, without losing their credentials (so their training is "portable" and goes with them).  This was included in a bill (HF 692) that died during the second funnel deadline, despite having been voted unanimously out of the House Human Resources Committee.  

With just days left in the session, HF 692 may still have a chance. As state legislators now work on budget bills, there is a brief window of opportunity. There will be an amendment to the House Health/Human Services (HHS ) Budget filed. This simply means that HF 692 can be added to the HHS budget bill. We don't have an amendment number for you to reference yet, but if this is important to you, contact your legislators NOW! It could be debated in the House next week so there is no time to waste.

We have already prepared an email for you - just update it with your own personal reason why this is important, and click send!  Easy Peasy!

If you want to write your own message, here is some information: 

  • 3 Key Components of HF 692:
    • Expands Iowa’s Direct Care Worker Registry
    • Creates a Public Portal of Caregivers
    • Establishes Collaboration Between Departments to Streamline Health Workforce Data

Who Benefits:

  • Direct care workers by providing a place for the permanent keeping and portability of their various trainings or certifications, whatever those may be, so they don’t have to take the same training over and over again. Older workers, seasonal workers, college students, and people with disabilities may find employment opportunities by being part of the voluntary public portal.
  • People with disabilities, older Iowans, parents of children with disabilities, and family caregivers who are placed in dire circumstances when they can’t find caregivers with the needed skills and experience will have access to a public portal of caregivers who opt in, to enhance access to care/support and perhaps prevent premature institutional care (details will need to be worked out with the state, of course).
  • Health and long-term services and supports (LTSS) employers, experiencing serious worker shortages and sometimes high turnover, by enhancing the hiring and onboarding of new staff, and by also having access to a pool of workers to fill gaps.  Other employers benefit by having family caregivers supported (and not having to choose between caring for a family member & work).
  • State of Iowa by having more accurate and reliable direct care workforce data to help inform state plans on how to meet the growing demand for the health and LTSS workforce and be better equipped to respond to state emergencies such as COVID-19 and any future disasters. 

The Request:

  • Support an amendment to add language from HF 692 into the Health & Human Services budget bill, and if needed, vote to suspend the rules to allow this to happen. 

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