January 2024

ARPA Project Pulse Newsletter

As we enter our final year of ARPA funding, we are excited to provide updates and highlights from our largest funding category - Strengthening the Workforce and Enhancing Rural Sustainability. Without a strong workforce serving those who receive home and community-based services the system cannot thrive. Through several strategic approaches, HCPF is tackling this urgent issue head on and as a result has seen tangible increases in direct care worker wages, a strong and engaged collection of people coming together regularly in the Direct Care Workforce Collaborative, and growing public awareness of this critical need. But there is more work to be done and we look forward to continually engaging in that work with you. Join us in 2024 if you would like to become involved!

~ The ARPA Team



DirectCareCareers.com is a new platform designed to streamline job searches and employer matching for both direct care workers and Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) and home health providers. The auto-matching feature (based on provider job postings and candidate resumes) simplifies the hiring process, ensuring optimal matches between candidates and open positions. This new website serves as a hub for the direct care workforce, offering useful information, such as a rich resource library, and a job board to facilitate seamless connections. As an added benefit, a forthcoming feature will provide access to free, portable training opportunities starting in spring 2024, enhancing the skills of individuals in the direct care field. Direct Care Careers presently has 142 candidates and 26 employer agencies signed up with 10 active job posts and 324 resource links. 

For Provider Agencies:

Q: How does Direct Care Careers differ from other job posting websites?

A: Direct Care Careers has been created specifically for Colorado’s HCBS workforce, ensuring a relevant pool of candidates. The auto-matching feature refines the selection process, presenting you with candidates specifically suited to your agency's needs and located where you need them.


Q: Is there a cost associated with posting job openings on Direct Care Careers?

A: No. There is no cost for accessing or posting job openings on Direct Care Careers. 


Q: How difficult is it to post and manage job listings?

A: It is easy! Direct Care Careers is designed to be user-friendly to ease the process of job posting and management. 


Q: Can I post job openings for different levels of direct care positions?

A: Yes. Direct Care Careers accommodates various levels of direct care positions, allowing you to target specific skill sets and experience levels.


Q: Can I customize the auto-matching criteria to align with our agency's specific needs?

A: Yes. The auto-matching feature is based on the job postings you upload to the website. This allows you to set criteria based on your agency's requirements.


Q: What additional resources does the platform offer to agencies, besides job matching?

A: Direct Care Careers has a rich resource library for your workers and will soon house free standardized training designed for use by workers across a variety of settings and with different populations.

For Direct Care Workers:

Q: How can Direct Care Careers help me find a job in the direct care field?

A: The auto-matching feature on Direct Care Careers analyzes your skills and preferences with employer job postings, presenting you with job opportunities that align with your profile.


Q: Is there a fee for accessing Direct Care Careers or the use of any of the site’s features? 

A: No. There is no cost to access Direct Care Careers and all its features are completely free.


Q: Can I use Direct Care Careers to advance my career through training opportunities?

A: Yes. Starting in spring 2024 Direct Care Careers will offer free training to help with general onboarding training and additional training modules to enhance your skills.


Q: What additional resources does the platform offer to direct care workers, besides job listings and training?

A: Direct Care Careers has a rich resource library with training, industry insights, articles, and direct care worker development resources. There is also a collaboration space where direct care workers can connect, share experiences, and gain valuable knowledge about the field.


Q: How do I create and manage my profile on Direct Care Careers?

A: Creating and managing your profile is easy and user-friendly. Simply follow the steps when signing up to showcase your skills, experience, and preferences. Note: it is important to completely fill out your profile to ensure you are receiving all the benefits the site offers and for optimal visibility to provider agencies. 


Interested in signing up? 

Visit Direct Care Careers today and sign up using the white box that applies to you!


Direct Care Worker Base Wage Data Dashboard

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) approved a $15.00 per hour base wage requirement for all direct care workers in Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) settings in Colorado. This base wage requirement was increased to $15.75 per hour and expanded to the Children's Habilitation Residential Program (CHRP) Waiver as of July 1, 2023.

In February 2022, HCPF began requiring all HCBS providers to submit a Wage Attestation form to attest their compliance that all direct care workers in their agency have received the required base wage increase and that Individual Residential Services and Supports (IRSS) direct care workers received an increase to per diem rates.

All HCBS Providers were required to notify all Direct Care Workers of the base wage increase using an HCPF-approved letter no later than Jan. 31, 2022, and submit the attestation forms to HCPF by June 30, 2022. This same process continued for 2023 with the form capturing wage data from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023, due on June 30, 2023.

This new dashboard shows the results of the provider reporting and will continue to be updated as new data is analyzed.

Have you visited the new Direct Care Spotlight webpage yet?

Direct Care Worker Spotlight Videos

These powerful videos highlight the critical and important work that Direct Care Workers do in our communities, day in and day out. Since being released, they have been viewed over 700,000 times! Watch and share them today!

Direct Care Worker Story - Sarah and Megan

Direct Care Worker Story - Ere and Ashley

Direct Care Worker Story - Aurelio and Manuela

Infographics, Flyers and Social Media Content

Available in both English and Spanish, these graphics are available for anyone to share and post on their own website or social media channels, to spread awareness about the impact that Direct Care Workers have. 

Other Project Updates

5.04 Care and Case Management Best Practices

In February 2023, HCPF, with the support of a contractor, John Snow Training and Research Institute Inc. (JSI Inc.), began a process improvement project to improve communication, collaboration, and coordination for Health First Colorado members with long-term disabilities and/or complex medical/behavioral conditions. The project is focused on improving care for Long-term Services and Support (LTSS) Members that are assigned to a Regional Accountable Entities (RAEs) and a Home and Community Based Waiver (HCBS) case management agency.

Over the past 12 months, JSI Inc. has been gathering stakeholder input through interviews and focus groups to identify RAE/CMA best practices that will improve agency communication, collaboration, and coordination with and for members. The best practices that JSI, Inc. identified can be put into 5 categories with the overall goal of improving member Experience. The categories are:

  • Intra-Inter-Agency Alignment and Collaboration
  • RAE and CMA Role Clarification, Collaboration and Coordination
  • Data Sharing and Technology
  • Payment and Performance
  • Contracts and Oversight
  • Member Experience and Satisfaction

Please watch for opportunities to learn more about this project in upcoming communications.

Open Grant Opportunities

4.07 Complex Needs Service Enhancement System of Care Grant

Application Deadline TODAY Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024


HCPF received funding through Section 9817 of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to build systems of care and support that recognize and leverage the needs and capabilities of various populations. This grant will focus on expanding, enhancing, and strengthening the capacity of existing service providers to serve people receiving home and community-based waiver services (HCBS) in a residential setting with disabilities and complex behavior support needs.

HCPF has allocated $500,000 to this grant program for up to 100 awardees that may receive between $5,000 and $50,000 in funding.

Eligible organizations can apply by Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024, using the online application.

Through this grant program, specific types of HCBS residential providers may apply for funds for projects that will enable agencies to better serve people with complex behavioral and/or medical support needs that require intensive supports and interventions, to include materials, home modifications, use of a consultant, and/or equipment that are not already billable to Medicaid. These funds are not for the purpose of directly providing ongoing services.

A Question and Answer webinar will be held Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, 3 to 4 p.m. MT.

To submit any questions, email Kathleen Homan.

View more information about the grant including the request for application


5.01 Case Management Agencies Care and Case Management (CCM) Stabilization Support

HCPF is working with case management agencies, local area organizations, and stakeholders to plan for CMRD and the multiple phases of the new CCM. This funding will provide support to case management agencies for unexpected costs outside of previous funding opportunities or existing reimbursement structure during transitions to implement CMRD, to support staff retention, assist with data clean-up in the CCM, digitization and/or storage of documents and unexpected demands related to the Public Health Emergency Unwind. 

Maximum Award Amount: $2,000 per CCM User for Staff Retention; $120,000 for Software, Digitization Efforts and/or Temporary or New Staffing

View more information about the grant including the request for application

7.02 Member Emergency Preparedness

Surviving in Place Backup Power Supply Systems

HCPF has recognized the importance of being prepared for a power outage emergency for people who use life-sustaining medical devices. With funding made available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and in collaboration with The Center for Inclusive Design and Engineering (CIDE), we will be distributing Battery Backup Power Supply Systems to eligible Health First Colorado members, assisting them in having the necessary equipment to be better prepared and in maintaining their health, safety and independence.

If you are interested in getting a Backup Power Supply System, please complete the application. Once received, the application will be reviewed, information verified, and a determination made if the applicant qualifies. There is a limited supply and a final decision will be made on eligibility and the availability of devices. All applicants will be notified of their results within two months of receipt of the application. All questions should be directed to Julia Beems at 303-315-1284 or [email protected].

For more information about the project visit the Surviving in Place webpage.

Surviving in Place Emergency Go-Kits

With funding made available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and in collaboration with The Center for Inclusive Design and Engineering (CIDE), we will be distributing emergency go-kits to eligible Health First Colorado members.

An Emergency go kit is a collection of essential items specific to your needs that you can quickly grab and take with you in an emergency or evacuation. It can contain all necessary supplies in one place for easy access in a hurry. 

Go kits are customized based on any medications, assistive technology, or special needs that a member may have. Kits should be kept in a designated location, such as near the front door or in your car trunk, so it can be easily grabbed when needed. 

If you are interested in getting a go kit, please complete the application. Once received, the application will be reviewed, information verified, and a determination made if the applicant qualifies. There is a limited supply and a final decision will be made on eligibility and the availability of kits. All questions should be directed to Julia Beems at 303-315-1284 or [email protected].

For more information about the project visit the Surviving in Place webpage.

Training Fund Grants Open for Individual Direct Care Workers and HCBS Providers 

HCPF is offering short-term grant funding to incentivize and expand training opportunities for the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) workforce. The grants will fund higher-level skills that will promote greater retention within the HCBS workforce. The maximum award amount per application for direct care workers is $500 and for HCBS providers is $100,000.

Eligible applicants include:

  • Individual, age 18 or older, who is currently working in a direct care role within any of Colorado’s Home & Community-Based Service (HCBS) Waivers; or
  • Individual, age 18 or older, who desires training to enter direct care within Colorado’s HCBS Waiver workforce; or
  • Also included within this workforce, are Certified Nurse Aides and Home Health Aides within Long-Term Home Health; or
  • Currently enrolled Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver providers; and
  • Training vendor/provider that develops/delivers training/specialization for the HCBS workforce. 

Interested in learning more about how this grant could support higher-level skills for the HCBS workforce?

Visit the grant program information page to get more details and apply today!

Questions? Email us at [email protected] 

Upcoming ARPA Stakeholder Engagement

To see all the meetings listed below on a calendar or to find meeting materials and recordings from previous ARPA-related Stakeholder Engagement, visit the ARPA Stakeholder Engagement webpage anytime.

Community First Choice (CFC) Council

The CFC Council collaborates with and advises HCPF on the design and implementation of a CFC option in Colorado. The CFC Council consists primarily of individuals with disabilities, those 65 years or older, and their representatives to help ensure CFC is implemented in a way that best meets the needs of Coloradans with disabilities.

If you need assistance accessing the meeting webinar link or call-in number, contact the CFC team. For more information, see the CFC Stakeholder Opportunities webpage.

The meeting will be held:

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024

10 to 11:30 a.m. MT

Join via Google Meet

Join by Phone:

1-260-230-1249, PIN: 719 313 221#

- - - -

Webinar: Quarterly ARPA Updates - All Stakeholders

An update for all interested stakeholders on key projects specifically funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 within the Office of Community Living and the Health Policy Office.

Audience: Members, Family, Advocates, Case Management Agencies (CMAs), Community Centered Boards (CCBs), Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Providers, Nursing Facilities, Providers, Single Entry Point (SEP) Agencies

Webinar documents are on the OCL Webinar Page and the ARPA Stakeholder Engagement Page.

The webinar will be held:

Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024

3 - 4:30 p.m. MT

Register Today!

- - - -

Direct Care Workforce Collaborative (DCWC) Training & Career Advancement Action Group

This Action Group works collaboratively with stakeholders to identify and move forward strategies to support the recruitment and retention of Colorado's direct care workforce. This group intends to meet every other month on the first Friday of the month from 9 – 10 a.m. MT.

The meeting will be held:

Friday, March 1, 2024

9-10 a.m. MT

Join via Zoom

Join via Phone:

(Toll-free) 877-853-5257

Meeting ID: 969 4053 6000, Passcode: 115140

- - - -

Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request for persons with disabilities. Auxiliary aids and services for individuals with disabilities and language services for individuals whose first language is not English may be provided upon request. Please notify John Barry at 303-866-3173 or [email protected] or the 504/ADA Coordinator at [email protected] at least one week prior to the meeting to make arrangements.

Join our mailing list

Was this email forwarded to you by a friend, family member, or colleague?

If you love this newsletter and want it delivered to your email once a month, subscribe now!