74% of New Yorkers Unable to Find a Home Health Aide
(CBS report on home health aide shortage - December 15, 2021)
I've known about the home health aide shortage for many years now, every year it has gotten a little worse- fewer and fewer aides to help our elderly and disabled citizens live in their homes. It might have taken time, but we were able to find aides for our clients eventually. Now it is close to impossible.
The pandemic has exploded this shortage into full out crisis. according to a report by the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State (CDPAANYS).
74 percent—of New Yorkers needing home health aides were unable to retain a worker in 2021. You can read their report in full here. OR see download on bottom of page.
A Growing Shortage: Across every single measure, the real-world situations of seniors and disabled New Yorkers trying to avoid institutionalization is not only worse today than it was just three to five years ago, it is dramatically so:
9% of consumers reported that it took them over a year to hire new staff, nearly eight times the statewide rate from 2016.
Over half of respondents statewide said that when recruiting, the most time consuming portion was “awaiting responses to advertisements or finding a potential candidate who would not turn down the job.” Previously, “awaiting fulfillment of medical requirements” far exceeded the length of every other category.
20% of consumers reported that all five of their past five PAs quit. Three years ago, this number was just under 4%, while five years ago it was just over 2%.
The Root Cause — Low Pay: The wages people can pay their workers, which are entirely dependent on government funding through the Medicaid program, are insufficient to attract a pool of workers:
Over half of the workers who quit identified low wages as the reason they did so.
A quarter of consumers - seniors and disabled people poor enough to live on Medicaid - feel the need to supplement worker wages out of their own pocket to try to keep their staff." (Page 1 of Executive Summary of the report)
On this issue of low pay it is worse for upstate aides who earned $12.50 an hour. In Westchester and Long Island the wages are higher at $14.00 and in New York City $15.00. The paltry increases in 2022 bring upstate minimum up a whole .70 cents to $13.20. Westchester goes up $1.00 to $15.00. Add on top of the lousy wages are the lack of benefits such as paid time off or health insurances.
There appears to be no relief in sight, the Build Back Better Bill has still not been voted on and has been whittled down to a pale comparison of the original which would have given an influx of needed cash to senior services.
In New York State “Fair Pay for Home Care” is a bill in Albany that would raise pay to $22.50 per hour, from minimum wage, which is now as low as $12 in parts of the state.
Advocates are also asking Gov. Kathy Hochul to include the higher Medicaid reimbursements in her upcoming budget. Advocate groups are actively working on this issue. Here are a few of the advocacy groups working on this and other pertinent concerns for New Yorkers" -
New York Legal Assistance Group
New York StateWide Senior Action Council, Inc.
Justice in Aging (national organization)