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|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|Monday, June 20, 2003
||Contact: CMS Public Affairs
HHS TO FUND DEMONSTRATIONS TO RECRUIT AND RETAIN PERSONAL
ASSISTANCE WORKERS TO HELP PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today called for proposals
for programs to recruit and train direct service workers, those
workers who provide personal assistance to people with disabilities
who need help with eating, bathing, dressing and other activities
of daily living.
"We need to act now to bolster the care-giving workforce
so that we are ready for the tremendous increase in need for
these services as the Baby Boom generation ages," Secretary
Thompson said. "This demonstration will encourage new approaches
that could make providing personal assistance more inviting and
rewarding for potential workers."
A part of the President's New Freedom Initiative, the Demonstration
to Improve the Direct Service Community Workforce will fund seven
to ten projects around the U.S. designed to develop and implement
programs that will recruit and retain direct service workers.
States and community-based organizations that provide direct
care services to people in local communities are being urged
to submit proposals. HHS is particularly interested in programs
testing whether offering health care coverage to workers will
increase and sustain interest in these occupations. However,
applicants may wish to devise and implement other recruitment
and retention strategies as well.
HHS' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will provide
nearly $6 million from the fiscal year 2003 federal budget to
those programs selected as demonstration participants. The maximum
award will be $1.5 million for projects that provide health insurance
benefits to workers. For other types of projects, the maximum
award will be $750,000 per applicant.
"These personal assistance workers are the backbone of
the nation's community-based long-term care system, and should
have the same access to health insurance and other work incentives
as millions of working Americans," CMS Administrator Tom
Scully said. "Through this demonstration, a part of President
Bush's New Freedom Initiative, we hope to be able to attract
and retain more of them. "
The notice soliciting proposals will be available at <http://www.cms.hhs.gov/newfreedom>.
Applications must be received by Aug. 12, 2003.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials
are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.