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PHI: 2012 in Review

December 21, 2012

The past year was one of big changes for PHI. Steven Dawson, the founding president of PHI, stepped down and was succeeded by Jodi Sturgeon, formerly the organization’s vice president and CFO. Steven remains engaged with PHI in the role of strategic advisor.

In addition, PHI, along with its affiliates Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA) and Independence Care System, relocated in the Bronx to a brand-new “green” building. The Gold Certified LEED building includes a state-of-the art training center for CHCA’s rapidly growing home health aide training program.

Throughout these changes, PHI remained committed to its mission: to foster respect, dignity, and independence for people who need long-term services and supports and for the direct-care workers who provide them. Today more than 4 million direct-care workers provide services and supports to elders and people with disabilities in residential, home, and community-based settings. By the end of the decade, that number will exceed 5 million, according to PHI’s most recent analysis (pdf).

Highlights of PHI’s activities this year included two Senate briefings in Washington, DC: one on rethinking the role for home care workers in care coordination teams, providing meaningful advancement opportunities for direct-care workers; and the other on training for personal care aides, which included findings from PHI’s analysis of state training standards and progress reports from states receiving federal Personal and Home Care Aide State Training (PHCAST) grants.

In addition, PHI, along with a coalition of advocates, ramped up its campaign for the narrowing of the companionship exemption, which excludes home care aides from federal minimum wage and overtime protections. Our Campaign for Fair Pay published a series of fact sheets and reports that were often cited in the 26,000 public comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor, and in various media reports. We hope the New Year will finally see the Obama Administration end this injustice for home care workers.

After many years of advocacy by PHI in New York, along with labor and other long-term care advocates, wage parity for home health aides became a reality in the 2012-2013 New York State budget; implementation began in March 2012. The Real Time Case Study project is tracking how New York’s mandate to enroll elders and people with disabilities into managed care plans is affecting the delivery of Medicaid-funded long-term services and supports, particularly how it is impacting home care workers.

A report (pdf) based on a survey of 624 direct-care workers in the MI Choice Program, authored by PHI Michigan for the Michigan Department of Community Health, provided the first demographic profile and other data on direct-care workers employed by self-directed (SD) consumers through the MI Choice Medicaid Waiver Program.

The PHI Coaching and Consulting Services team continued to transform eldercare and disability services at nursing homes, Green Houses, and other residential settings; home care agencies; and community-based programs through the implementation of the PHI Coaching ApproachSM. Two new case studies, Partners in Care and Monadnock Developmental Services, feature the fundamental ways in which home care agencies have changed their cultures by adopting the PHI Coaching Approach. In addition, our Michigan team is leading OneVision: Moving Forward, a statewide partnership working to overcome obstacles to culture change across the state.

PHI was approached by the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation to design and provide technical assistance for a $3 million, 27-month training and employment initiative. Led by the Workforce and Curriculum Development team, the Homecare Aide Workforce Initiative is providing both entry-level and specialty training to select home care agencies who are members of the UJA-Federation of New York.

Over the past year, coverage of the direct-care workforce in the media increased dramatically. Stories often included PHI’s data and analysis and perspectives from PHI staff. Highlights from news stories and op-ed placements can be found on the newly redesigned PHI website and Facebook page. 

Below are a few selected resources published by PHI PolicyWorks in 2012:

Workforce Data

Training and Credentialing

Companionship Exemption

Care Coordination

Consumer Direction

— by Deane Beebe

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