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PHI "State Data Center" Gives Easy Access to Statewide Direct-Care Workforce Data

August 8, 2013

— State-of-the-Art Web-Based Tool Expands to Include States' Training Standards for Home Health Aides, Personal Care Aides, and Nurse Aides —

Bronx, NY — The PHI State Data Center, the first web-based tool to provide comprehensive, state-by-state profiles of the direct-care workforce — nursing home aides, home health aides, and personal care aides — makes accessible the most recent wage, employment, and demographic data available on one of the largest and fastest-growing workforces (pdf) in the nation. The upgraded site now allows users to download charts or share them through social media.

The dynamic State Data Center has recently added descriptions of training standards for each of the three direct-care occupations. For each state, the site now features information on required training hours for home health aides and nursing aides, and compares this information to federal training standards for these occupations. Additionally, the data center details state-level training standards for Medicaid-funded personal care aides, in terms of the required elements of training and the level of uniformity of these requirements across different Medicaid programs within each state. (There are no federal training standards for this direct-care occupation.)

"With states taking note of the rapidly increasing demand for direct-care workers to provide long-term services and supports, we've found that policymakers, advocates, and service providers are all seeking reliable, user-friendly, state-level information on the direct-care workforce," said PHI Associate Director of Policy Research Abby Marquand. "Thousands of stakeholders have already turned to the PHI State Data Center for state profiles of the direct-care workforce, since it was first launched; we expect interest in this type of information to continue to surge as the need for these essential workers continues to grow."

The PHI State Data Center compiles and analyzes the most recent data from sources including the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics and Employment Projections Programs.

Direct-care workforce employment characteristics and demographics are illustrated in downloadable charts, including those on:

  • workforce size and projected employment growth
  • trends in wages for each direct-care occupation, and
  • health insurance coverage rates and reliance on public assistance.

The web-based data tool also contains information on:

  • training standards
  • legislation and regulatory developments pertaining to the workforce, such as summaries of pending or passed bills and regulatory actions, and
  • notable state-based initiatives, employer best practices, and resources.

The direct-care workforce is projected to be the nation's largest occupational grouping by 2020 (pdf). Direct-care occupations will outnumber all retail sales workers as well as all teachers from kindergarten through high school.

A 2009 white paper from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid-sponsored National Direct Service Workforce Resource Center reported that states are hampered by a lack of on-going, reliable state-based information about their direct-care workforces. The PHI State Data Center is helping to address the growing need that states have for better tools to monitor key vital signs of their direct-care workforces.

"Enhanced features of PHI's web-based tool make essential state-by-state information about our nation's direct-care workforce more accessible and easier to share with others," said Bruce Chernof, MD, president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation. "These workers are an increasingly important element of the health care team that helps people to age with dignity and independence."

The development of the PHI State Data Center — and this upgrade — has been supported in part by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services/National Direct Service Workforce Resource Center, and by a grant from The SCAN Foundation. The SCAN Foundation is dedicated to creating a society in which seniors receive medical treatment and human services that are integrated in the setting most appropriate to their needs.

More information on the direct-care workforce — including fact sheets, policy briefs, and the companionship exemption that excludes home care workers from federal labor protections — is available on the PHI website at PolicyWorks.

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PHI, the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, works to transform eldercare and disability services, fostering dignity, respect, and independence — for all who receive care, and all who provide it. The nation's leading authority on the direct-care workforce, PHI promotes quality direct-care jobs as the foundation for quality care.

Deane Beebe, PHI Media Relations Director; 646-285-1039; dbeebe@phinational.org

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