Advocates Praise Governor for Signing Advanced Home Health Aide Bill

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A broad coalition of advocates, providers, and home health workers praised Governor Cuomo today for signing legislation creating a new class of workers, Advanced Home Health Aides (AHHA), which will be able to perform health related tasks for people with disabilities and seniors living at home. This legislation will dramatically expand the availability of services for people with disabilities and seniors who wish to live in their own home.

The bill allows specially trained AHHAs, under supervision, to perform tasks which, although routine, have until now only been allowed to be performed by a nurse, the individual consumer, a member of the consumer’s immediate family, or through a program called Consumer Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA). Individuals  who are not able to perform those tasks for themselves, who do not meet the requirements for CDPA, and who cannot rely on family members, are forced into costly institutions in order to receive these services. The AHHA bill changes all of that, and many advocates praised the bill, the Governor, and the Legislators who supported it.

“We thank the Governor for signing the Advanced Home Health Aide bill championed by Assemblywoman Glick and Senator LaValle as well as the Assembly and Senate leadership,” said George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “This important legislation will ensure that seniors, people with disabilities and other vulnerable New Yorkers can receive the quality services they need at home.  It will also create a career ladder for home care workers who deliver those services.  This was a years-long effort by workers, consumers, providers and other advocates to improve our long term care services and we are very gratified that this is now law.  We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo’s administration on its implementation.”

“This is fantastic,” said Bruce Darling, a disability rights organizer with Rochester ADAPT. “We are tremendously grateful for the leadership of so many in Albany: Governor Cuomo, many of our representatives in the Senate and Assembly, as well as all of the advocates who came together to make this happen. Right now, there are disabled people and seniors trapped in institutions for no other reason than that they need assistance with health related tasks such as medication administration or maintenance of a stable ostomy. Thanks to this bill, many more New Yorkers will have the choice to live in freedom!”

David McNally, Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy, AARP New York, said “allowing advanced home health aides to perform the common tasks will provide needed support to the millions of family caregivers in New York State. These invaluable caregivers often must leave work or travel from their own home to perform basic health tasks for their loved ones, even when a home health aide is present. A recent AARP survey found 87 percent of New York’s Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers want to age in their homes, and this law will help make that a reality for more New Yorkers.  AARP New York applauds Governor Cuomo for signing this important legislation.”

Ginger Lynch Landy, Co-Director, of Argentum New York, praised the bill.  “Argentum NY applauds Governor Cuomo for enacting this groundbreaking legislation.  Our senior living provider members strongly support this measure which will expand the health care services that can be provided to New Yorkers in their homes and in Enhanced Assisted Living Residences.   We look forward to continuing our work with the Administration on the implementation of this new law.”

“As the statewide leader in advocating for the almost 400,000 New Yorkers with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers, the Coalition of NYS Alzheimer’s Association Chapters thanks Governor Cuomo, Senator LaValle and Assemblymember Glick for your commitment to robust home health care. Advanced home health aides will enable millions of New Yorkers to age in place. We look forward to working on the implementation of this legislation to ensure that all home health aides understand the needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and applaud this important legislative step in the right direction,” said Jane Ginsburg, Executive Director of the Coalition of NYS Alzheimer’s Association Chapters.

“The Continuing Care Leadership Coalition commends all involved in making it possible for trained home health aides to perform advanced tasks vital to homebound patients,” said Scott Amrhein, President of the Continuing Care Leadership Coalition. “This new law will improve care for patients while giving family caregivers essential support to meet the needs of their loved ones.”

“The signing of the Advanced Home Health Aide bill marks an important milestone in the effort to improve the quality of jobs for New York’s home care aides and the quality of care for elders and people living with disabilities,” said Jodi M. Sturgeon, president of PHI, the nation’s leading authority on the direct care workforce. “This advanced role gives workers a much-needed opportunity for professional growth, while also making sure that families across the state are able to access trained workers to provide essential services.”

The bill calls for regulations to be issued by the Department of Health and the State Education Department, as well as a training curriculum to be created, before any AHHAs will perform these tasks in the field.

Adam Prizio
Center for Disability Rights

Karen Kahn
Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute

Jordan McNerney

Mark Riley
1199 SEIU