ARPA Funds Directed Toward Del. Healthcare Workforce Recruitment, Retention

Delaware hospitals, long-term care facilities and state-operated 24 / 7 facilities will be eligible for a share of American Rescue Plan Act funding to boost their work forces.

Governor John Carney said Wednesday that more than $75-million in financial support will go toward recruitment and retention incentives for Delawareans who have and are working on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This new funding from the American Rescue Plan will help Delaware hospitals, long-term care facilities and State of Delaware facilities keep workers who have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis – and recruit qualified new workers into these critical roles,” Carney said. “That’s exactly how this federal funding was meant to be used, and it will help these industries stabilize their workforces so we can continue fighting the COVID-19 pandemic at full strength. Most importantly, I want to thank our health care workers, emergency response personnel, and all those Delawareans who have gotten us through a difficult 19 months. Let’s make sure we’re all doing our part. Getting vaccinated is the best thing you can do to finally put an end to this pandemic. Find a vaccination provider near you by visiting de.gov/getmyvaccine.”

“We are grateful that the Governor is recognizing the tremendous burden COVID-19 response continues to visit upon our hospitals and health care facilities through provision of these funds,” Delaware Healthcare Association President and CEO Wayne Smith said. “Having the needed amount of front line workers to care for all who access our facilities is not optional. This announcement is a great help and very much appreciated.”

“Today’s announcement is another example of how the state and federal government have responded to the impact of the pandemic on long-term care residents, staff and facilities,” Delaware Health Care Facilities Association Executive Director Cheryl Heiks added. “Caring for our seniors should be one of our top priorities; this funding demonstrates a further commitment to caring and will help facilities to continue the goal of providing quality care during a time of unprecedented challenges.”

Tuesday, Delaware Health and Services announced a plan to utilize other funding from the American Rescue Plan Act available through Medicaid to recruit more Direct Service Professionals and keep them on the job. According to DHSS, thousands of people across The First State are helped with at-home and community-based services.

“Investing in our Direct Support Professional workforce is the first step toward strengthening and expanding our system as a whole,” DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik said. “These investments will be used to support DSPs operating across our entire network of home and community-based services, but will be made available first to DSPs supporting Delawareans with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Maintaining the integrity of this workforce ensures continued availability of this community lifeline for the individuals and families who rely on DSPs every single day.”

In order to access this additional federal funding, states must develop a detailed spending plan demonstrating how and where the funds will be used. Delaware’s spending plan will include payments directly to DSPs: 

  • Each new DSP, employed on or after May 1, 2021, who works a minimum of 25 hours a week could receive a recruitment payment of up to $1,000. 
  • Existing DSPs who were employed prior to April 30, 2021, and who worked an average of 25 hours a week would be eligible for a one-time $1,000 payment.  

    DHSS intends to begin submitting payments to providers later this month. Additional details on supports for DSPs working in other sectors of HCBS will be released soon. Additional information on Delaware’s ARPA spending plan can be found on the DHSS website.