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It’s Time to End the 24-Hour Rule for Home Care Workers: We All Have a Role to Play

New York, NY –  With President Biden taking the issue of home care to the national stage last week, there has never been a more opportune time to replace the widespread 24-hour “live-in” workday with split shifts – which would improve worker compensation and patient care.

At present, New York State Medicaid only reimburses non-profit agencies beholden to Medicaid for 13 hours of pay in a 24-hour shift, on the theory that workers sleep or eat during unpaid hours. Given increasing demand for round-the-clock home care within aging and disabled populations, however, many workers across the industry are actually undertaking 24-hour live-in shifts to support patients. Yet, home care agencies cannot compensate their workers adequately under current Medicaid rules. This is a historic truth that must change to better serve nonprofit home care workers and recipients of care alike.

With this in mind, the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) and our subsidiary Home Attendant Program (HAP) are both in full support of the State ending the 24-hour rule. We recognize the benefits that reform would bring to workers, as well as the enhanced quality of care and services it would provide for homebound seniors and individuals with disabilities.

In pursuit of a more equitable future, we need to create a system in our State by which home care workers receive full compensation for every hour of their shift – which starts by transitioning 24-hour shifts into two 12-hour split shifts. No single agency can achieve this change alone. We must all work together – concerned citizens, policymakers, and nonprofit leaders – to put an end to legacy practices that no longer fit the needs of the current environment. Separately we are strong, but together we are stronger.

Wayne Ho is president and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc.

 

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