New state Senate legislation that would raise home care workers’ wages does not provide sufficient funding for employers to cover that increase, the Home Care Association of New York told McKnight’s Home Care Daily

“While we appreciate the intent of new proposed state budget legislation to increase aide wages, the proposal now under consideration in New York’s state budget would not sufficiently cover the full cost of this new mandate for home care provider employers in New York State, many of whom are operating at negative margins,” Roger Noyes, communications director, said.

State Sen. Rachel May on March 3 introduced the Fair Pay for Home Care Act (S-5374) that would raise wages 150% above the minimum and give the average home care worker an annual salary of $35,000. Noyes pointed out that the legislation does not help providers pay for the wage increase in the long term.

“While the state Senate intends to appropriate Medicaid funds for increased aide compensation as part of this proposal, those funds are a one-time appropriation with no guarantee of long-term structural rate support for home care provider employers obligated to cover the cost of a new mandate that would continue indefinitely,” he said.

“In addition, the budget’s proposed Medicaid appropriations for wage coverage would not support all home care programs and services that would be subject to the mandate. For instance, when an aide provides care to a patient under non-Medicaid programs  such as Medicare, commercial insurance, or private pay — the home care agency would be subject to the wage mandate but without funds to cover that cost.”  

The Home Care Association of New York presented alternative budget legislation to the chairs of the state Senate and Assembly budget conference committees, Noyes noted.

“Our proposal would provide a funding mechanism for wage and non-wage supports in home care, assisted by federal aid and other sources for coverage of Medicaid and non-Medicaid services alike,” he said. 

Dozens of home care workers held a rally on March 12 at the Fordham Plaza in the Bronx, NY, to support the state Senate bill.