AN ACT RELATING TO HOME- AND COMMUNITY‑BASED CARE WORKFORCE ISSUES
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. FINDINGS
The general assembly makes the following findings:
(1) As set forth in No. 56 of the Acts of 2005 and the choices for care Medicaid waiver, Vermont has committed to developing a forward‑thinking, long-term care system that provides Vermonters with equal access to the full range of long-term care options, including nursing facility care, residential care services, and home- and community-based services.
(2) Through the adoption of the choices for care Medicaid waiver and other long-term care policies, Vermont has further demonstrated its commitment to securing high quality long-term care services that maintain and improve the physical, mental, and social well‑being of Vermonters in need of long-term care services and supports.
(3) Central to the delivery of quality long-term care services are the direct care workers who provide personal care such as feeding, bathing, toileting, help with other activities of daily living, skilled nursing for technology-dependent individuals, and support for additional personal care needs of children with disabilities and serious health conditions in a variety of institutional and community‑based settings.
(4) National and local experts in long-term care delivery systems express concern that factors such as the aging of society, the increased lifespan of individuals born with complex disabilities, the rise in the incidence of children diagnosed with autism, and the personal and challenging nature of direct care work are combining to cause problems in both the quality and quantity of the direct care workforce, sometimes referred to as the “care gap.”
(5) In order best to address these potential problems, Vermont needs to consolidate through a comprehensive study the present and emerging status and problem areas of the direct care workforce in all settings, including
home- and community‑based settings, nursing homes, adult day centers, residential care homes, and assisted living residences.
Sec. 2. NEEDS ASSESSMENT
(a) The commissioner of disabilities, aging, and independent living shall perform a needs assessment regarding present and future workforce issues of direct care workers in Vermont. The assessment shall focus on potential problems regarding quantity, quality, stability, and availability of workers, specifically as they apply to long‑term care services and supports provided to Vermont’s elderly and disabled populations. At a minimum, the assessment shall identify the potential problems and opportunities projected through 2030 and shall include recommendations for addressing these problems in the near and long term. In preparing the assessment, the commissioner shall consult the advisory council established in Sec. 3 of this act.
(b) The commissioner shall submit a report on the results of the needs assessment and recommendations to the house committee on human services and the senate committee on health and welfare no later than December 30, 2007. No later than January 15, 2007, the commissioner shall submit an interim report to the committees, including an assessment of existing needs and recommendations for short-term strategies to address these needs.
Sec. 3. DIRECT CARE WORKFORCE ADVISORY COUNCIL
(a) The commissioner shall appoint a direct care workforce advisory council consisting of 16 members. The membership shall include one representative each of the community of Vermont elders (COVE), AARP Vermont, Vermont association of professional care providers (VAPCP), Vermont center for independent living (VCIL), Vermont health care association (VHCA), Vermont association of adult day services (VAADS), Vermont assembly of home health agencies (VAHHA), northern New England association of homes and services for the aging Vermont (NNEAHSA), the workforce development partners (WDP), parent to parent of Vermont (P2PVT), Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (VRRP) or similar organization representing Vermont’s refugee and immigrant workforce, the state long-term care ombudsman, developmental service providers, the commissioner of labor or designee, and three at‑large appointees, at least two of whom shall be individuals who are employed providing direct personal care to Vermonters.
(b) The advisory council shall meet monthly with the commissioner or designee and shall advise on the planning, implementation, and recommendations of the needs assessment required by Sec. 2 of this act.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street