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With Demand for Services Never Greater, Disability Support Professionals Earn Certification to Help Those with Serious Disabilities

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — June 08, 2021
Charlotte, NC / June 08, 2021 – North Carolina’s frontline Disability Support Professionals (DSP) provide critical assistance to children, families and people with disabilities across our state every day. They perform essential roles, delivering services with dignity and compassion for limited compensation. This can unfortunately result in high turnover rates, workforce gaps, and low morale for a critical sector of our workforce.
Fortunately, there is a growing recognition of this crisis and a number of efforts are in the works to help address it. One of these is a workforce development program led by Horizon’s Residential Care Center and The Triad Region Provider Council that aims to certify DSP in the Triad. The certification program gives staff the needed trainings required in the field and is transferrable to provider agencies. This reduces administrative burden on providers by reducing the amount of training providers must give to staff prior to working with members. The first class of graduates recently earned certifications as DSP as part of a program supported by Cardinal Innovations.
“Horizons is honored to be part of this exciting effort.  We appreciate advocating with our partners and with state leaders to ensure fair and reasonable opportunities for this valuable sector of our workforce,” said Richard Anderson, President and CEO of Horizons Residential Care Center.  “As such we are doing everything in our power to address the workforce crisis. By doing so we hope to provide rich and meaningful career paths for many of our most passionate and dedicated professionals.” 
Addressing the crisis facing this essential workforce is a top legislative priority of Cardinal Innovations. We strongly support the recent legislative proposals aiming to ensure we have a well-staffed and respected care system that meets the needs of North Carolinians receiving support through Medicaid by allocating funding and ensuring that rate increases are implemented to support increased wages and/or benefits.
“Without these professionals, the quality of life for our members and their families would be greatly diminished,” said Trey Sutten, Cardinal Innovations CEO. “Through participation in the DSP program and advocacy with state leaders, our organization is doing everything we can to address the dire shortage of Disability Support Workers and make their career choice as viable as it is rewarding.”
DSP graduates earned licensure for Certified Nursing Assistant Level 1, Disability Support Professional Level 1 from the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals, Medication Technician State Certification, and CPR/First Aid and Blood Borne Pathogens trainings. The certifications allow staff to begin working faster with members/families as well as provides options for back up staffing in situations where the primary staff is unavailable.
Matthew Potter, a disabilities advocate and DSP instructor, described the graduates’ achievement as “ground-breaking” for their profession. “With the knowledge and skills to provide support in a culturally competent manner, they are having a tremendously positive effect on the lives of a North Carolinians with a disability for many years to come.”
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About Cardinal Innovations Healthcare: Cardinal Innovations Healthcare is a specialized health plan and care coordinator for Medicaid recipients and the under- and uninsured in North Carolina with complex behavioral and special needs. Cardinal Innovations connects people with treatment and support for mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders through a network of providers in their communities. The organization serves this important role in 20 counties. In 2020, Cardinal Innovations administered nearly $850 million for the care of 825,000 people in the region and invested more than $50 million to improve support systems and to respond to the pandemic. Cardinal Innovations also works with local governments to address public health concerns such as homelessness, suicide prevention, child welfare and domestic violence through education, engagement and outreach.

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