HCA and home care providers are urging the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to continue supplying personal protective equipment (PPE) for home care under our existing coordination effort.
Of great concern, NYC DOHMH has signaled its intent to cease its PPE distributions on the basis that the surge of COVID-19 patients in hospitals has eased. However, providers have not seen any decrease in the needs for PPE for COVID-19 positive and high-risk patients at home — a message communicated to city health officials earlier this month.
In our outreach, we requested NYC DOHMH to maintain its PPE supply for home care “at least for the months leading into the upcoming flu surge, so agencies can continue to meet their patients’ needs and transition to direct ways to establish and maintain an adequate stockpile.”
As we reported in the April edition of Capitol Report, HCA, the New York State Association of Health Care Providers (HCP) and individual home care providers have worked out a limited yet vital PPE gap-filler supply process with NYC DOHMH. Under this arrangement, NYC DOHMH has been furnishing PPE to distribution points hosted by home care providers. At these locations, peer home care and hospice agencies have been able to pick up an allocated supply of PPE based on their answers to a survey assessing need criteria. Providers at the host sites have volunteers to assist all others at their own expense and time.
HCA and home care agencies receiving PPE under this arrangement understand that the PPE is supplemental in nature. Organizations are expected to seek PPE from regular supplier sources first and foremost. And yet agencies continue to encounter major difficulties doing so, especially smaller and moderate size home care organizations that do not have the negotiating clout with large suppliers.
HCA members report that the cost of masks is much more now than pre-COVID-19, the cost of gloves continues to increase, and orders are taking in excess of 17 days to be filled.
HCA urges legislators representing districts in New York City to voice your support to NYC officials for continued provision of supplemental PPE for home care and hospice providers serving the needs of vulnerable patients in the pandemic.
For a briefing on the matter, please do not hesitate to contact HCA’s Director for Public Policy and Advocacy Alyssa Lovelace at firstname.lastname@example.org.