A new home care industry coalition issued a call to action Wednesday for the country to address a what its members described as a staffing "crisis."
Bayada Home Health Care, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, and the Home Care Association of America are seeking partners to join their Home Care Workforce Action Alliance. They aim to catalyze action to resolve a severe workforce shortage the members say is leaving potential patients without care.
"We all recognize this is a problem that needs to be addressed, but we all continue to work within our silos," National Association for Home Care and Hospice President Bill Dombi said during a webinar Wednesday.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be nearly 600,000 home health and personal care aide job openings each year this decade as current workers quit the field or retire. These aides earn a median hourly wage of $14.15, which is less than the median wage for retail employees. Demand is growing, as well, because the population is aging.
Bayada Home Health Care has never turned away as many potential clients nor had as many open shifts as it does now, said David Totaro, the company's chief government affairs officer. In September, the provider denied 50% of patient referrals; by March, that rose to 67%, he said. "The challenges really have only gotten worse in the past few years," he said.
The Home Care Workforce Action Alliance seeks partners from the industry, patient groups, workers, educators and the government to address issues such as low compensation, lack of benefits, limited access to training and unclear career growth opportunities, Dombi said.