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Bill Would Make NY Home Health Aides “Essential Personnel” During Emergencies

December 12, 2013

New York home health aides would be given “essential personnel” status if a bill, which legislators discussed during a November 26 hearing in Albany, passes into law.

The bill was first introduced into committee on April 4 by Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D). A state senate version was published on April 19.

As “essential personnel,” home health aides would be allowed to bypass roadblocks that are set up to limit road access to emergency workers during times of crisis. They would also be exempted from emergency curfews.

Hospice caregivers, nurses, and therapists would also be given “essential personnel” status if the bill becomes law.

Hurricane Sandy’s Influence

Hurricane Sandy clearly showed the importance of bestowing emergency status upon home health aides, Cusick said in April.

“What we saw, during and after the storm, was complete chaos with scores of home care workers unable to reach their patients,” he said.

Because of Sandy, many home health aides were unable to provide their client with necessary care or to help them evacuate to safety.

Last year, PHI told the story of home care workers at Cooperative Home Care Associates, a PHI affiliate, who went above and beyond the call of duty during Hurricane Sandy.

— by Matthew Ozga

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