In December 2019, before the pandemic grabbed the U.S. by the throat, the Home Care Association of New York State released a “state of the industry” report.
It noted that hundreds of the thousands of individuals and their families rely on the home care system for care and support; that home care workers are underpaid; and that New York State’s Medicaid program covers only 87% of the cost of home care services.
The news gets worse.
Twenty-nine percent of home health agencies use lines of credit or borrow to meet operating expenses. These are the very agencies that are expected to recruit, train, retain and supervise thousands of home health care aides. But because wages are so low, they are having a tough time. Turnover among some groups is as high as 58 percent.
The report’s ultimate assessment:
“Home care faces a workforce crisis at a time of growing demand and projected need for home care services. Workforce shortages result in vacancies and costly staff turnover.”
Again, the HCANYS’ report was released before the worst of the pandemic in the U.S, back in December when most COVID-19-related news was coming out of China and Americans were focused on the holidays.
Fast forward to today. With more than 6,000 coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes, New Yorkers are looking for alternative ways to care for elderly relatives. Home care would be a valuable tool, but the situation in the state has deteriorated.
Today, another home care report is being released. This time by the New York Caring Majority, a coalition of organizations including Cooperative Homecare Associates, National Domestic Workers Alliance, and others who advocate for seniors, people with disabilities, family caregivers, and domestic and homecare workers in the state of New York
This report focuses on the Hudson Valley. Here are two findings:
- The home care sector is growing faster than all other occupations. There will be 64,000 job openings by 2026 in Hudson Valley alone as the population ages
- Massive workforce departures are due to the $18,000 average annual wage
Considering the earlier report from the Home Care Association of NYS in conjunction with two other newspaper reports accessible by clicking here and here, the state appears to be heading deeper into a crisis for aging New Yorkers.
The report out today by the New York Caring Majority is being highlighted by a bipartisan group of lawmakers including State Senators Rachel May, Jen Metzger, and Sue Serino.
“The new data shows that home care is the fastest growing occupation in the region, yet every year 5,100 home care workers leave the workforce due to low pay and inadequate benefits. The median annual income for Hudson Valley home care workers is approximately $18,400,” the report states.
The report was commissioned by Hand-in-Hand: the Domestic Employers Network, and research was conducted by the CUNY Graduate Center for the New York Caring Majority.