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New York Legislature Passes Advanced Home Health Aide Legislation

June 21, 2016

PHI and a coalition of stakeholders eked out a last-minute victory when the New York State legislature passed a bill (A10707/S08110) to create an advanced home health aide occupation in the final hours of the 2016 session.

Introduced by Assemblyperson Deborah Glick (D) and Senator Kenneth LaValle (R), the bill represents the culmination of a four-year effort by a coalition of statewide organizations, which included PHI (see sidebar).

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) proposed and championed the legislation beginning in 2013.

Once Cuomo signs the bill, a workgroup will be convened to develop the regulations and specific steps leading to the graduation of the first AHHAs.

Expanded Tasks

Under the new law, AHHAs will be allowed to perform certain advanced tasks, including the administration of pre-measured or pre-filled medications and the injection of insulin. Additional tasks will be outlined during the regulatory process.

Home health aides who have worked for at least a year in a home health aide or personal care aide position will be eligible to be trained as AHHAs. Once they complete the training, they will also have to demonstrate competency before a registered nurse can assign them advanced tasks. Supervising registered nurses will determine on a case-by-case basis whether to assign advanced tasks, and consumers have the right to refuse the use of an AHHA.

Fills Gaps in the System

This legislation fills existing gaps in our system. First, it provides home health aides with opportunity for advancement, which currently is extremely limited. Second, it allows AHHAs to perform tasks that, in the current system, can typically only be done by licensed personnel, family members, or individuals in the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Services program.

The new legislation allows AHHAs to function at a higher level, improving the quality of care and quality of life for their clients and family caregivers.

“New York’s home health aides are an underutilized resource in the state’s health care system, and this bill will help unlock their caregiving potential,” PHI President Jodi Sturgeon said in a statement. “PHI is grateful to Governor Cuomo, Assemblywoman Glick, and Senator LaValle for their leadership in taking this important step forward for New Yorkers.”

Coalition Members

The coalition includes: PHI, 1199SEIU, AARP, the Center for Disability Rights, Argentum, Alzheimer’s Association New York State Coalition, New York Association on Independent Living, Jews for Racial Economic Justice, LeadingAge New York, and NYS Association of Health Care Providers

— by Allison Cook, PHI New York Policy Associate

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