The Governor and state Health Commissioner have requested all county health departments to establish plans for COVID-19 testing and immunization capabilities.
In view of this planning work, Sarah Ravenhall, Executive Director of the New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO), joined HCA President Al Cardillo in a letter to all county health commissioners whose departments oversee the local public health response to COVID-19. Together they urge commissioners to look to home care agencies as a critical partner and resource that can assist with county-level COVID-19 testing capacity through in-home specimen collection.
“As the lead health strategists within New York’s communities, we want to be certain that local health departments are aware of this resource,” the letter states.
Given the role of county health departments in planning and garnering COVID-19 testing capacity, the letter highlights the capabilities of home care providers who have taken HCA’s training program for COVID-19 specimen collection while also recommending that local health departments “[include] your communities’ home care agencies on your resource and partner list,” not only for COVID-19 testing but also vaccinations.
“If you have not done so already, NYSACHO and HCA jointly encourage county health departments to connect and coordinate with the home care agencies serving your communities,” the letter adds.
This letter reinforces home care’s role in the COVID-19 response and why state and local planning efforts must be explicit in heeding that role occupied by community-based providers serving hundreds of thousands of patients in the home.