A statewide association of home care providers has been launched amid concerns over changes to the state's consumer directed personal assistance program, which advocates worry could lead to its dismantling. 

The group New York Advocates for Home Care launched this month with dozens of groups compromising its coalition. The new association is also not ruling out a legal challenge to the changes to the personal assistance program by the state. 

At issue, advocates say, is a bidding process that led to only 68 providers winning contracts of 373 providers that had been approved by state health officials over the years. Some of the winning bids have not been completely operational prior to winning the contract. 

The program is funded through Medicaid, which provides aid for consumers who are not able to care for themselves, including people who have disabilities, are chronically ill or have been permitted to hire and direct personal assistance to help with tasks needed for daily living. 

“More than 139,000 New Yorkers who need assistance are now uncertain about whether they will be able to access the program they count on to remain at home. If the State’s CDPAP RFO is implemented, it will dismantle the program as we know it and eliminate home care options for those who need them," said Rick Alvarado, a founding board member of New York Advocates for Home Care. "That means New Yorkers could lose these vital services and some may end up in assisted living facilities or nursing homes as a result. This is unnecessary and unacceptable, especially given the continuing threat of COVID-19. NYAHC came together to fight on behalf of these consumers."