Advocacy Alert: CCAPP & CSAM Put Forth Emergency Workforce Plan to Increase SUD Counselor Wages and Salaries

January 13, 2022


The SUD workforce crisis has reached critical levels with COVID conditions exacerbating challenges that have long plagued the SUD workforce. Alarming increases in overdose emergency room visits and deaths, and significant decreases in staff, have widened the gap in the availability and accessibility of quality treatment.

According to a workforce analysis report released by the LA County Department of Public Health, LA County alone needs an 85% increase in their SUD workforce just to meet mandated network adequacy standards and there is no end in sight to the shortage of qualified counselors.

This issue is one that can no longer be ignored. CCAPP, in partnership with CSAM, have stepped up to the plate in bringing this crisis to the attention of legislators and administrative leaders. In their letter to the Deputy Director of Behavioral Health, Dr. Kelly Pfeifer, sent December 29, 2021, CCAPP and CSAM propose solutions to immediately address pain points that have long restrained growth of the SUD workforce. This includes a proposed direct wage increase pass-through to SUD employees of qualified programs with an ongoing allowance for 15% salary increases with program reimbursements as well as hiring and retention bonuses to encourage reentry into the field and make SUD jobs competitive with retailers like Amazon and Target.

"You can no longer ignore the workforce deficiencies created by the lack of resources and awareness. We have long warned of this impending disaster and while we have tried to patch these holes as best we can, it is time to provide this essential workforce with a means to grow and do the work we do," said Pete Nielsen, President and Chief Executive Officer of CCAPP.

Trailer bill language is currently being drafted by CCAPP to implement these changes and a meeting is pending regarding how to proceed in funding and implementation.

To read the CCAPP/CSAM plan, click here.

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