Alliance forms for action on home care workforce as providers hit record highs in case declines

It is often said that storytelling can be a powerful tool for change. That’s what members of the new Home Care Workforce Action Alliance are banking on with the announcement of the Voices for Care at Home campaign.

The Home Care Workforce Action Alliance is the by-product of some of the industry’s biggest players on the trade association side. The Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) are joining forces to address the current home care workforce crisis.

The Voices for Care at Home campaign asks individuals to detail their experiences trying to access care. The Home Care Workforce Action Alliance will then amplify these stories.

“Having been in this space for over two decades and an advocate for home care, I am always struck by the stories I hear about everyone’s experience when it comes to caring for an aging parent or caregiver. ‘a member of the family,’ Vicki Hoak, executive director of HCAOA, told Home Health Care News. “We wanted to collect these kinds of stories.”

As well as the experiences of people trying to access care, the campaign aims to include stories from families, carers and nurses.

“I think stories are powerful in advocacy, and that’s why we decided to launch this campaign,” Hoak said.

Overall, the campaign’s goal is to win allies in state and federal legislatures and engage more contractors in the ongoing workforce mission.

The demand for care exceeds the supply

Although staffing has always been a challenge for home care providers, this moment may be unprecedented in terms of the severity of the problem.

Demographic changes mean that the number of people who need care is increasing. Specifically, 81 million people in the United States will be over the age of 65, compared to 72 million under the age of 18, by 2040.

In addition, people turning 65 today have almost a 70% chance of needing long-term care and support.

On the other hand, home care providers struggle to meet this demand for care.

“Agencies are reporting that they’re turning down 20, 40, 80 cases a month because they just don’t have the aides and nurses to handle those cases,” Hoak said at a Home press conference. Care Workforce Action Alliance Wednesday.

Hoak noted that there will be an estimated national shortage of 151,000 paid direct care workers by 2030 and 355,000 by 2040.

David Totaro, another member of the Home Care Workforce Action Alliance, noted that 98% of providers operating in Pennsylvania have had to turn down new cases over the past two years.

“When there is not enough supply to meet demand, the country’s most vulnerable population suffers,” he said at the press conference. “When this happens regularly and frequently, most are forced to seek healthcare services in much more expensive settings, such as nursing homes and hospitals.”

In addition to his membership mentioned above, Totaro is also a member of the NAHC Board of Directors and serves as the Director of Government Affairs at Bayada Home Health Care.

Bayada is no different from his industry peers. The company is currently at an all-time high for declined referrals and open shifts, according to Totaro.

In September 2021, Bayada had to decline about 50% of all cases it received. At the end of March 2022, the company’s decline rate was nearly 67%.

Going forward, reform will be critical, NAHC President William A. Dombi said at the press conference.

“Federal and state policy reform, education reform, worker aid reform, and an overall increase in the workforce,” he said.

Dombi urges home care responders to collaborate with the Home Care Workforce Action Alliance.

“[Home care stakeholders] would include patient representatives, direct care professionals, congress, state governors and legislators, educators, and many others,” he said. “We all recognized that this is a problem that needs to be addressed, but we all continue to work within our silos. By uniting, we can succeed.

Michael A. Bynum