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Essential Workers

posted by Chris Sparks on Friday, May 8, 2020

I have been following The Courier’s COVID-19 coverage and want to share the story of invisible but essential workers who are providing care and support for our neighbors with disabilities during this crisis.

Direct support professionals, or DSPs, work 24/7, evenings, weekends, and holidays, often in people’s homes where they cannot practice social distancing. DSPs support people who need help with basic hygiene, health and nutrition, connecting with loved ones, taking medications and more.

Yet Medicaid-funded disability service providers are financially struggling. Many are at risk of closing because of lost revenue and they lack funding to cover overtime and hazard pay, which are essential during this pandemic. The federal government has overlooked these services entirely, along with the vulnerable people they support, in distributing congressionally appropriated CARES Act funding. Without DSPs, people with disabilities are at risk.

The good news is that Senators Grassley and Ernst are listening and they can make a difference by holding the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services accountable in distributing resources to Medicaid providers like us. Contact our senators and encourage their support of efforts on behalf of people with disabilities in Iowa.

About The Author

Chris Sparks has been working in the field of disability services for over 35 years – beginning his career as a Direct Support Professional. As Executive Director of Exceptional Persons, Inc. (EPI) he focuses on the EPI mission to connect people to their communities, create opportunities, a ... read more