April 13, 2017
Late Sunday night, the New York State legislature passed its fiscal 2017-18 budget. During budget negotiations, PHI submitted several recommendations for Medicaid provisions that would address the growing home care workforce shortage in the state.
Provisions related to the direct care workforce in the final budget include:
- Medicaid funding to cover the increase in the minimum wage for direct care workers. This funding will ensure home care agencies can meet minimum wage requirements for their workers;
- Increased regulations and oversight for Fiscal Intermediaries in the Medicaid Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP). This will allow the state to better track the quality and practices of Fiscal Intermediaries across the state;
- The expansion of wage parity base wage and benefit requirements to include personal assistants in CDPAP, which previously only applied to agency-hired home care aides; and
- Increased funding to raise the wages of direct support professionals who provide care for consumers in programs run by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Office of Mental Health (OMH), and Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (OASAS). An increase in funding will help to attract and keep workers in this field.
The final budget didn’t address all of PHI’s recommendations, such as setting a home care agency rate floor, establishing a Home Care Advocate, providing funding for home care aide wages to return to rates above minimum wage, and allocating money for pilot programs that address the workforce shortage.
“PHI applauds the passage of the budget and appreciates the measures that support direct care workers in delivering quality care to thousands of New Yorkers,” said Allison Cook, PHI’s New York Policy Manager. “Now that the budget has passed, we can focus on better addressing the challenges faced by this critical workforce.”
-- by Allison Cook, PHI New York Policy Manager