Earlier this month, we had the privilege of sponsoring and presenting at the 2022 ANCOR Annual Conference. We always look forward to the conference because it is truly one of the most influential and informative conferences in the IDD industry.
After two years of connecting virtually, we were even more excited to be back in-person in Miami, Florida, and have the opportunity to attend some great sessions and meet with staff from provider agencies.
As it turns out, we weren’t the only ones who were excited about being back: This was the largest ANCOR conference in years, with over 800 in-person attendees and another 70+ people who tuned in virtually. Here are some of our top takeaways that stood out from the three-day event:
What immediately stood out was how excited people were to be back in-person again. So excited, in fact, that ANCOR had nearly twice as many attendees as they had anticipated.
Since it’s easy to be a passive participant at virtual events, ANCOR attendees came ready to learn and contribute. The energy at the conference was magnetic, and people were highly engaged.
It was a fantastic opportunity to get a pulse on the industry and what’s going on both regionally across the U.S. and at a national level. Most of all, we enjoyed connecting with people face-to-face and hearing about what’s happening in their lives and the challenges they’re facing.
One challenge we heard a lot about was the DSP staffing crisis. The disability services industry has struggled with staffing shortages for as long as we can remember. It’s a consistent, ongoing problem that providers have been trying to solve for decades.
However, with the pandemic, the staffing crisis is worse than ever, with nearly every industry experiencing staffing perils. This has awakened recognition from all sides. Policymakers and the public are now much more aware of the DSP staffing shortage and the need for DSPs. Our hope is that this will lead to systematic solutions, such as legislation increasing services rates and raising pay for DSPs.
This is something we predicted back in December: New billing and service changes are major hurdles that are making it harder for small providers to stay in business. For example, many providers have been overburdened by the technical challenges of electronic visit verification (EVV). That could lead to larger IDD organizations absorbing smaller organizations, or smaller organizations combining to be a larger entity.
By merging with another organization, providers often mutually benefit from combining tools, resources, and staff. Additionally, they may have an opportunity to diversify their program offerings and gain access to a larger consumer base.
The 2022 ANCOR conference theme, ELEVATE, was chosen to reflect “the many ways in which we’ve risen to unforeseen occasions in the past two years and the myriad ways we will take community-based IDD services to the next level.”
Indeed, the attendees we spoke to were motivated to explore new ideas and take on challenges with renewed energy.
Internally, organizations are examining their standard practice and evaluating if it fits. If it doesn’t, they are hungry for solutions — but many are unsure where to start.
We heard many issues they struggle with, such as disparate systems for managing their processes, having to use multiple tools to accomplish the same thing, frustrations with tracking data, and staying on top of the ever-changing requirements of compliance.
Externally, demands from local and federal governments, lack of funding, and workforce shortages kept coming to the surface.
This year’s ANCOR conference was a highly-anticipated event, as it was the first time in two years it was held in-person.
Those who attended enjoyed informative sessions, lively discussions, and opportunities to connect with new and old friends. It was truly a privilege to sponsor, and attend.
Whether or not you were able to be there, we hope the above takeaways will leave you feeling excited about the future and ready to take on whatever challenges come your way. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for more industry news and updates!