More work still needed to achieve orderly and efficient process, prioritization of home care
HCA and home care providers have pleaded at all levels for personal protective equipment (PPE) amid scarcities and the absence of home care from PPE prioritization lists, as reported by City & State, Buzzfeed News, Gothamist, the Times Union and Fox News.
“While PPE is scarce across all health care settings — and we certainly understand the pressing needs system-wide — it also must be acknowledged that there are many patients in home care who have medical needs as severe as some patients in other settings,” said HCA President Al Cardillo in a press statement earlier this month. “These most at-risk patients cannot go without services, including care that requires high levels of contact.”
As we continue to make these appeals for PPE, HCA has been working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on a provisional solution to at least meet a fraction of home care’s needs. The plan has involved HCA’s enlistment of five HCA member home care agencies to staff and host distribution sites that are receiving a limited reserve of PPE furnished by the city in phases. At the sites, other home care agencies throughout New York City can come pick up the city-furnished PPE based on their answers to a survey. The survey seeks to gauge each individual provider’s needs and prioritization based on criteria that HCA worked out with city officials.
HCA commends our provider members Selfhelp Community Services, People Care, Americare, Elara Caring and Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation for hosting these distribution sites, handling the associated responsibility of managing PPE distributions to their peer home care agencies, and expending resources and time, all of which are unreimbursed.
We stress that the needs of providers far exceed the quantities, types of PPE, and prioritization methods thus far negotiated with city officials. But given the many contingencies of the COVID-19 health emergency, HCA greatly appreciates this important step the city has taken in working with HCA and our members.
Going forward, every avenue must be considered for achieving an orderly, efficient and equitable means of getting PPE into the hands of home care providers for their staff who urgently need it.