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HCA Statement: State Assembly Hearing on Home Care Workforce Issues

Media urged to attend a second Assembly hearing on Monday in Albany (details are below)

HCA greatly appreciates the state Assembly’s focus on home care workforce issues during a hearing today in New York City and another hearing scheduled on Monday in Albany.

Home care workforce recruitment, retention and staffing shortages have long been a concern for providers, consumers, and aging and disabled New Yorkers.

Home care is a demanding occupation that requires a unique set of skills and aptitudes. A comprehensive set of solutions is therefore needed to support this vital workforce, along with adequate reimbursement from the state for labor and non-labor service costs at a time when home care providers and Managed Long Term Care plans alike are experiencing operating losses statewide.

Between 2010 and 2014, home care employment rose 43% in New York City. As of 2015, home health aides in New York City number 117,760, along with 71,390 personal care aides and 70,990 registered nurses in home care. Nevertheless, shortages and high turnover rates persist, causing enormous administrative cost and resource pressures for training and orientation in home care, not to mention disruption in the continuity of care.

According to a recent HCA survey, home care agencies across New York State report a 24% turnover rate for home care aides and a 21% turnover rate for nurses and other professional staff. This same survey found that approximately 14% of home health aide, 17% of personal care aide, 13.5% of registered nurse, and 10.6% of therapist positions are unfilled due to shortages. Providers also report they are unable to accept an average of 37.3 cases due to staff shortages statewide.

These shortages affect regions of the state in different ways, with variations even on a county-by-county level when it comes to the types of nursing, therapy, aide-level or social work staff needed to meet local demands and service patterns. HCA’s findings on workforce shortages and turnover rates also reflect the current field-level experiences of existing referral to home care, not the capacity growth and potential that are necessary for home care to achieve ambitious state reform goals, like a 25% reduction in unnecessary hospital use. Home care is very much the backbone of this effort.

While the state has provided some funding support for recruitment and retention in home care, a more holistic approach is urgently needed. HCA has already presented the Legislature with proposals to address this growing concern through draft legislation that would set in timely motion a comprehensive, short-and-long-term plan to ensure statewide and regional home care capacity to meet the system’s and citizens’ needs. We hope the Assembly’s hearings today and next week elevate the need for such a comprehensive strategy that includes adequate reimbursement for wages, training and infrastructure investments, and other mechanisms to ensure workforce stability for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who rely on home care.

HCA looks forward to presenting testimony with further information and findings at next week’s Assembly hearing in Albany, on February 27 (details are below).

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Assembly Hearing on The Home Care Workforce
Albany
Monday, February 27
11 a.m.
Hearing Room C of the Legislative Office Building
Download the hearing notice here.

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