News 8 Rochester Explores ‘Urgent Matter’ of Home Care Aide Shortage and HCA’s Home Care First Effort

Situation Report | May 24, 2021

The Rochester area’s CBS affiliate, News 8 WROC, on Friday examined New York’s home care workforce shortage, along with solutions advanced by HCA to address this chronic area of concern exacerbated by the pandemic.

The reports tells of Gerald Sullivan Junior of Brockport who has had three major strokes since he was 19. His right side is mostly paralyzed. Two years ago, he had a serious fall and is seeking home care.

Reporter Christian Garzone explains some of the reasons for New York’s workforce shortages — especially in the pandemic — including constraints on aide training programs.

While the state Department of Health has allowed for some organizations to offer a hybrid model of virtual and in-person aide training, the requirements are overly restrictive. HCA and association partners have requested a meeting with DOH to resolve these issues.

Home Care First

The News 8 report especially features HCA’s call for a Home Care First policy in New York State to help overcome the larger issue of workforce shortages.

“The pandemic brought the issue of home care ‘first’ into major focus when I observed the trend of patients referred from hospitals to inpatient rehab and long-term care,” said HCA President Al Cardillo in the report. “I wrote to the Administration and to the Health Department and urged that these referrals be prioritized to home care wherever possible.”

“Ultimately, the HCA Board and I brought this concept to the Legislature’s COVID oversight hearings last summer and found the beginnings of receptivity that we hope can lead to a Home Care First reality in New York State,” he added. “The newly passed state budget contains $1.6 billion in federal aid for home and community-based services, and the President is proposing new levels of investment in these services. The time is now to channel these investments accordingly to support this home health system.”