This week the President and CEO of the New York State Association of Health Care Providers (HCP), Kathy Febraio, announced HCP’s continued efforts to help ensure home care providers have the resources needed to keep workers and patients safe and healthy in their homes and communities.
“HCP is pressing forward at all levels of government to help ensure New York’s home care providers have access to the personal protective equipment, testing and financial resources and support they so desperately need to keep workers and patients safe.” Febraio said. She added “Nothing is more important at this time than the protection of our patients and home care workers from the COVID-19 infection.”
“HCP joined with 1199 SEIU in sending a letter to the Cuomo Administration urging that it make available to home care providers portions of unspent Medicaid dollars being held by Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) companies. This money should be used to ensure the safety and health of caregivers and patients,” she continued.
“1199SEIU home care members have been continuing to leave their homes to provide care for their clients throughout this pandemic,” said George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU, which represents 450,000 healthcare workers. “While home care providers have incurred extraordinary costs to provide personal protective equipment to aides, they have received no additional reimbursement. Managed care companies have experienced lower claims and costs during this period. The state should ensure that those resources are directed where they are most needed – to the aides and the consumers they serve.”
The letter stated, “Home care providers continue to do their part to ensure both worker and consumer safety and comply with all of the State directives to combat this crisis. These additional, unreimbursed costs, however, are unmanageable and annualized are financially unsustainable.
“In order to support MLTC members, we urge you to require a redistribution of the underspending to plans’ home care providers to support the acquisition of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for workers as well as other new pandemic-related costs like overtime, sick pay and premium pay for workers caring for coronavirus patients. MLTCs could pass through the funding as rate adjustments, lump sum payments, or other calculations.”
HCP Submits Legislation
Febraio went on to say, “Similarly, HCP submitted a bill to the legislature that would require unspent funding paid by the state to MLTCs be used to support PPE acquisition for home care workers to protect them from COVID-19 and the infection of their patients.”
“Home care workers keep the most vulnerable patients in their homes, protecting them and the public from the spread of COVID-19. The need for PPE for the protection of home care workers and their patients is paramount.
“HCP thanks and commends Assemblymember Gottfried and Senator Rivera for sponsoring this critically important bill and calls on the legislature to pass it and urges Governor Cuomo’s swift approval,” Febraio said.
“In addition, HCP again joined with 1199 SEIU and more than 60 other organizations to call on the United States Congress to increase Medicaid funding to New York State to ensure that Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) providers have the resources to provide the necessary equipment to those in home care.
Febraio continued, “Our efforts at the State level alone are not enough for the home care industry to battle this pandemic. Home care needs resources from the Federal government at this time when the State’s economic outlook is increasingly dreary, with significant adverse impacts on the home care industry. We are pleased with the passage of the HEROES Act by the House of Representatives. We call on the U.S. Senate to swiftly pass this COVID relief package.”
The letter to Congress stated in part, “HCBS providers need additional resources to remain financially stable, to recruit and retain sufficient numbers of workers to care for homebound individuals, and to keep their workforce safe and healthy. We urge Congress to increase Medicaid funding specifically for HCBS to ensure sufficient resources are available, and require the State Medicaid programs to:
- Provide pass-through funding to providers for worker support, including additional compensation and sick pay, childcare and transportation subsidies.
- Reimburse home and community-based services providers for additional COVID- and shutdown- related administrative costs, including telehealth systems, PPE supplies, increased overtime expenses and employee retention.
The letter concluded, “These important initiatives are currently unfunded, and, given the tenuous financial position of most HCBS providers, must be supported by federal and state government funding.”