Situation Report | April 19, 2021
HCA took further steps this week in our advocacy on the implementation of hybrid (online and in-person) aide training programs.
We, along with LeadingAge New York and the New York State Association of Health Care Providers (HCP), requested a meeting with the state Department of Health (DOH) to discuss the long and cumbersome process for approval of hybrid aide program applications. We also intend to address any areas of concern identified by DOH that have led to multiple requests for additional information to the same agency, and any areas that the Associations have identified for reform.
As reported previously, HCA, HCP, LeadingAge New York and a select group of Association members developed a plan in July 2020 to allow for virtual training of home health aides (HHAs) and personal care aides (PCAs), advocating for implementation of this plan by DOH. This grew out of an aide workforce shortage that has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic when many training programs have had to shut down due to prospective aides’ fears of contracting COVID-19 in classroom settings and social distancing requirements that limited class sizes.
The Associations had meetings with DOH to discuss our proposal, which led to DOH issuing a Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) in September 2020 allowing for previously approved and “active” HHA and PCA training programs to offer a hybrid model of virtual and in-person training programs in combination.
We felt that some of the DAL requirements were overly restrictive and contrary to what was discussed in meetings with the Associations and DOH, including: which tests must be given in-person; the approval process for nurse instructors who will be teaching online; the necessity for agencies to submit an online training schedule; and the roles of DOH and training programs in entering class information into the Home Care Registry.
Still, we appreciated DOH’s focus on such training programs and encouraged members to submit applications for approval. Now that only a few agencies have received approval for the hybrid training model and others await action by DOH, we feel it is time to review the whole process, examine ways to streamline it, and make other improvements.
We will keep members informed of any new developments on this issue and advise members to contact Andrew Koski on the status of any submitted applications.