Via CDPAANYS/CDANYS: As COVID-19 made more people than ever want to receive long-term care services at home, in the community, New York has faced a worst in the nation home care workforce crisis, making the availability of these services harder to obtain than ever before. This has led to an explosion in the use of Consumer Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA), allowing people to find their own workers.
CDPA has kept home care viable throughout this crisis; but, the proposed budget not only fails to recognize the critical role these workers have played by investing in their wages, it would make the workers ‘second-class’ home care workers and subject CDPA workers to wage cuts of up to $4/hour.
We call on Governor Hochul and the Legislature to use this budget to say, loud and clear, that CDPA is Essential. To do this, the budget must:
- Invest in CDPA and home care overall by including Fair Pay for Home Care – Last year, the state made a large down payment on wages for home care workers by increasing them $3/hour over two years. But, this is not enough. Plus, the money they invested was largely stolen by insurance companies in the Medicaid program, because there is no accountability on how they spend their money. Fair Pay for Home Care would make sure workers earn 150% of the minimum wage – $22.50 with today’s wage – and make sure the money actually makes it to agencies so they can pay workers what they deserve.
- Reject the proposal to return home care to a minimum wage job – After just last year saying home care is not a minimum wage job, permanently making the wage $3/hour over the minimum wage, Governor Hochul has changed her mind. Instead of investing in home care through Fair Pay for Home Care, her budget would make sure that the wage did not grow unless and until the state’s minimum wage surpasses it.
- Reject the $4/hour wage cuts to CDPA – In New York City, Long Island, and Westchester, the law provides agencies with an additional $3.22 – $4.09/hour for wages or benefits for workers. The Governor proposes to keep this increase for traditional personal care, but carve CDPA out, essentially arguing workers in CDPA are ‘second-class’ home care workers, who don’t deserve the same wages and benefits as other home care workers. This wage cut for tens of thousands of workers is disrespectful and harmful and must be defeated.
- Reject new proposals to close fiscal intermediaries (FIs) across NY – Four years ago, then-Governor Cuomo proposed to authorize the Commissioner of Health to unilaterally close most FIs across the state. Through negotiation, a plan was developed that makes sure that those with a firm commitment to this program can continue to serve the consumers who rely on them. The Governor would not only undo this agreement, which she herself finalized last year, she would go even further – mandating that the same insurance companies who just stole hundreds of millions in funds meant for workers have final authority on which agencies continue to operate in this state. This is unacceptable. The state must make sure that people have access to high-quality services they need from the agency they choose – not the one their insurance company chooses for them!
- Restore access to CDPA for those with lower needs – Several years ago, the state changed eligibility for CDPA and personal care to carve out those who do not need physical assistance with more than three activities of daily living (ADLs), such as toileting, dressing, or eating. This radical change will prevent thousands from accessing needed services and result in higher costs as they require hospitals and other expensive services to help until their situation worsens and they qualify for these services at a much higher level than they would have needed originally. With the public health emergency set to expire and these changes to be implemented, now is the time to prevent this health and fiscal crisis from occurring.
Home care is the future, and CDPA is the future of home care. We have already seen this program become the dominant way services are offered across the state, with over 50% of people getting personal care using CDPA to do so. Now is the time to invest in and strengthen this program to create a future NY we can all be proud of – not cut it in reliance on the failed policies and institutions of the past.
Sign the petition now to call on the Governor and the Legislature to make sure that this budget prioritizes CDPA and delivers a message to all New Yorkers that CDPA is Essential.