Our Policy Priority: Close the gap.

IACP relentlessly advocates for community providers to build healthy communities so one day, all Iowans will live, learn and work in their community of choice. Learn more about IACP's #RelentlessAdvocacy for community providers and their 130,000 clients in 2022. As the pandemic lingers and all facets of life and business have been changed, there is an even greater need for IACP to continue relentless advocacy on behalf of Iowa's most vulnerable citizens.

Click here to view our DSP Workforce Crisis one-pager.

What is a community provider?

We are providers of mental health and disability support services in all 99 counties. Supports include residential, employment, mental health, transportation, and a multitude of other services helping individuals live in and thrive in communities throughout the state. 

Who is a DSP?

Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are the lifeblood of Iowa's community providers. They provide mental health and disability support and services, including assistance with daily tasks, obtaining and maintaining employment, making friends, and enabling people to not just live, but thrive in their own communities. Because of their efforts, 160,000 Iowans are living, learning and working in their community of choice, and not in State institutions.

What is the crisis?

DSPs provide essential services to vulnerable Iowans, but wages paid based on Medicaid reimbursement rates and the current employment environment make it extremely difficult to recruit and retain quality employees.

Our top priority: DSP Wages

Thank you for the 4.25% rate increase for HCBS and Habilitation (effective July 1, 2022). We are grateful for your commitment to addressing our workforce crisis. Unfortunately, the cost of living for families with children has gone up 10.6% and up 6.4% for single households. Additional State financial support is needed to close the wage gap between DSPs and other entry-level jobs in order to attract and maintain quality DSPs. Without such funding, important services will be cut, and community providers will continue to consolidate or close. The fate of vulnerable Iowans is literally hanging in the balance.

Here's the problem:

The average starting wage of a DSP in Iowa is $14.23. Providers continue to struggle to compete with other entry-level jobs. We cannot increase our rates to fund wage increases, as they are set by Iowa Medicaid (IME). The ONLY way to increase rates is through a legislative appropriation.

We're different from healthcare.

What sets Iowa's community providers apart from other healthcare workers: 

  • Community providers receive more than 90% of their revenue from Medicaid. Other health care organizations receive 25-30% of their total revenue from Medicaid
  • Private insurance does not cover these services
  • DSPs provide services 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, and 365 days/year
  • The need for services is generally ongoing and lifelong, not sporadic or short term

Here's what is needed now: Close the Gap!

Support rate increases to address workforce crisis for:

  • Habilitation
  • Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)
  • Intermediate Care Facility/Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/ID)

This action will help community-based organizations improve the lives of Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens.

Click here to view our DSP Workforce Crisis one-pager.