HCA Implores the State to Act on the Worker Shortage Emergency

Situation Report | July 6, 2021

HCA continues to urge state action on the home care worker shortage, which is being repeatedly characterized across the state as an “emergency.”

HCA has continuously alerted state administration officials about the situation, and the growing, dire need for response. The policies and circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have heavily impacted, and continue to exacerbate, this severe problem.

The state should expedite its allocation of the $1.6 billion in state budget funds for home and community-based services. (The funds from enhanced federal Medicaid shares cover all community-based service areas, inclusive of home care.)

HCA has also been pressing for faster and more nimble access to online/hybrid aide training, continued relief of COVID-era regulatory waivers and discontinuation of unnecessary mandates (see related article), new areas of regulatory flexibility, new recruitment and retention funds for both professional and paraprofessional staff, and more.

HCA has also been pressing for workforce investments and support at the federal level, though the earlier hoped-for source of new federal infrastructure funds for home care (originally at $400 billion) now seems a more distant measure, if it will be agreed to at all. Our advocacy, however, will continue unabated.

HCA will be testifying at an upcoming July 27 hearing on the worker shortage and also pushing for introduction of our “Home Care First” legislation that includes expanded workforce support for home care as a priority state policy.

HCA also is implementing a phase II of our Statewide Hospital-Home Care Collaboration initiative, which incorporates workforce improvement strategies. The initiative is funded by the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. HCA and partners are holding weekly planning sessions to address core improvements to the health system through collaboration among hospital and home care sectors, including support for the home care workforce. HCA welcomes all HCA members’ input and ideas for addressing any contributing factors for workforce support.

Additionally, HCA has announced a series of regional member meetings (see related story) for further assessment of workforce needs and potential answers.

HCA is exploring every measure to address this critical problem and emergency in the health care system and urges your voice in this effort.