News Roundup June 12th, 2020

This week’s news roundup showcases a few high profile features on New York Times and The Hill. As COVID-19 continues to challenge the existing home health care system industry leaders are taking a hard look at how they can navigate the tide. Awareness of the issues behind home health workers will hopefully inspire better decisions and policies of agencies to take care of their workforce as well as the patients their clinicians were hired to protect. 

From The Hill

“The median hourly wage of home health workers is about $10 per hour, and the work is inconsistent, often offering only part-time or part-year employment. This inconsistency leaves a quarter of home care workers below the federal poverty line and more than half reliant on public assistance. Many home health workers must work second jobs to make ends meet, making them more likely to encounter the coronavirus and spread it to others.”

For a fast-growing industry, proper compensation for clinicians is becoming a larger question as their services are increasing in demand. Yet, a limited workforce under constant risk of exposure to COVID-19 prevents patients from getting adequate support. 

The New York Times lays out the issue with stats from nonprofit PHI (an organization focused on research and analysis for elderly and disability services in the US) to raise this issue:

“Home care workers are poorly paid hourly workers (average wage in 2018: $11.52 an hour, according to P.H.I.) and often lack health insurance; half rely on some form of public assistance.

Analyzing federal data, P.H.I. researchers found that, from 2012 to 2017, only one in five home care workers who needed time off for medical or family reasons could take paid leave.”

In St. Louis, a group of home health care agencies have coalesced to address rising needs for home health services by initiating a program to increase work force. 

Bizjournals reports: 

“Assistance Home Care, Martha’s Hands, Right at Home and Seniors Home Care on Monday said they collectively are planning to hire and train more than 1,000 from the hospitality and related sectors over the next few months, according to a release. The coalition plans to offer free training and job placement.”