Vaccinating Homebound New Yorkers: 5 Profiles from the Field

Capitol Report | April 2021

Home care providers have a long history of public health expertise, including vaccinations. The COVID-19 response is no different.

While the vaccination effort is enormously complex, home care providers are working to overcome these challenges for patients and staff. We’ve featured their work in a new online spotlight called Home Care #Vaccinate NY.

There, you’ll learn about a New York City home care agency CEO who is also a licensed paramedic taking the vaccination effort into his own hands. We also profile a Capital Region agency who has administered well over 1,000 doses across its various senior care divisions. You’ll also learn about the unique efforts of a hospital-based home care agency in New York City and a county-government home care provider in the North Country who are vaccinating patients, as well as one agency’s pioneering effort in central New York.

Why Vaccinations in Home Care?

Many home care patients and others in the community are homebound due to medical frailty, a chronic health condition, or a disability. Others simply have difficulty traveling to a vaccination site outside their home, or can’t risk the impact to their health of doing so. Home care agencies and community partners are working collaboratively to identify these individuals for in-home vaccinations.

Challenges and Recommendations

HCA has been meeting with the Governor’s office to discuss home care-led vaccination efforts. We’re also calling attention to areas of needed support, guidance, and flexibility in the home care vaccination effort.

In early April, we provided officials with a paper describing experiences, best-practices, and recommendations drawn from a roundtable of HCA-member home care agencies. Our recommendations address the need for: reimbursement reflecting the true cost of vaccination in home care, greater flexibility in the current geographic limitations governing vaccinations, guidance or protocols that consider vaccination of family members and others in the household during home care visit, and various other administrative requirements.

In particular, the increased demand on nurses for vaccination purposes has magnified an already present and persistent workforce challenge — a challenge that is at the forefront of HCA’s overall legislative priorities.

To learn more about the status of home care vaccination efforts, read our paper here in addition to the profiles on our Home Care #Vaccinate NY page. HCA stands ready to address these challenges with your offices in the Legislature.