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Wage Parity for New York Home Care Aides Analyzed in PHI Brief

January 17, 2013

PHI has released an analysis of the recent implementation of wage parity for home care workers in New York State. Wage parity was included in the state’s fiscal year 2011-2012 budget.

In PHI’s Medicaid Redesign Watch #1: Wage Parity for Home Care Aides (pdf), PHI describes the wage disparity that led to the state’s need to create a new “minimum wage floor” for all home care workers in the greater New York City metropolitan area, where approximately two-thirds of the state’s 250,000 home care workers are employed.

The brief — the first in the new PHI Medicaid Redesign Watch series:

  • explains why wage parity is essential to the success of Medicaid reform;
  • describes some of the early implications and unintended consequences of wage parity; and
  • makes recommendations regarding further wage parity implementation.

New York’s Medicaid Redesign

New York is in the process of reorganizing how the state delivers Medicaid-funded long-term services and supports.

In New York City as of July 2012, all adult Medicaid recipients over the age of 21 who are also Medicare eligible — the “dually eligible” — and need community-based long-term care services for more than 120 days are now required to enroll in a managed long term care (MLTC) plan or another care coordination program.

“As the state moves to mandatorily enroll elders and people with disabilities into managed care plans — and moves from fee-for-service to capitated payments — all aspects of the system will be affected,” said PHI New York State Policy Director Carol Rodat.

“The legislature’s decision to provide wage parity for home health aides in New York City and the surrounding metropolitan counties is a crucial element of New York’s Medicaid Redesign. However, in many ways, the home care system was unprepared for the massive change it will yield.”

PHI’s Real Time Case Study

PHI’s Real Time Case Study initiative, now called PHI Medicaid Redesign Watch, is tracking these changes, with a focus on the impact on the home care workforce — the backbone of New York’s long-term care delivery system.

This three-year project will record, analyze, report — and intervene — as events unfold. PHI New York’s goal is to limit disruption for both consumers and workers, and to ensure that changes to the system result in both better quality care and better quality jobs for those on the frontlines.

Medicaid Redesign Watch #1: Wage Parity for Home Care Aides (pdf) is the first brief in the new PHI Medicaid Redesign Watch project.

Check the PHI website for more information on PHI-New York’s Medicaid Redesign Watch project.

— by Meghan Shineman, PHI New York Policy Analyst

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