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PHI releases first direct-care workforce state data center

The Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), a national nonprofit working to improve America’s long-term care system, has launched the PHI State Data Center, the first web-based tool to provide comprehensive, state-by-state profiles of the direct-care workforce.

The data center, which became available on the PHI website Sept. 7, provides up-to-date statistics, charts and profiles of the direct-care workforce in every state, including workforce size, projected employment growth, wages, health insurance coverage rates and reliance on public assistance. The direct-care workforce consists of nursing home aides, home health aides and personal care assistants.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' National Direct Service Workforce Resource Center and a grant from The SCAN Foundation supported the development of the data center.

“What we’ve tried to do here is present a workforce profile snapshot where states can find out, within reasonable orders of magnitude, how big their workforces are, how much their workers are being paid, what the growth projections are for these jobs,” said Dorie Seavey, Ph.D., director of policy research at PHI.

The direct care workforce is one of the largest, fastest growing workforces in the country, according to Seavey, who said these jobs constitute about a third of the entire healthcare workforce in each state. With the number of people over 65 and with disabilities growing rapidly, it is important for these individuals and their families to have easy access to the information they need in order to receive direct care, said Seavey.

As a multi-year, ongoing project, the data center has been released as a flexible, initial platform, ready to be updated at any time. Seavey said the company already has plans in place for an update, as well as ideas about new functionalities and new information to add.

“We’re hoping that people will find it to be useful and keep it alive and fresh by sending us resources that they’re aware of,” said Seavey.

While presenting data for journalists, policy-makers and patients, the data center also holds the potential to improve the quality of the direct-care workforce.

“I hope that greater attention will be paid to improving the compensation for these workers and the training for these workers so they’re better supported in their work and can provide the kind of quality care that Americans need and want,” said Seavey.

The data center is available online: http://phinational.org/policy/states/

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