Home Care Consumers & Electeds Tell Gov. Hochul: Reverse Cuts & Allow Vulnerable New Yorkers to Stay in Their Own Homes!

March 15, 2024

All For Web.jpegHome care consumers accompanied by their personal care assistants joined legislators and local officials in Yonkers earlier today to urge Governor Hochul to reverse her proposed cuts to a state program that allows vulnerable New Yorkers to live independently and with dignity in their own homes.

Standing next to me is Rosie Parkes who has been my personal aide for thirty something years. Rosie is currently with me 24 hours a day for four days every week. My retired brother stays with me for the other three days—because we cannot not find another aide willing to do this job for what it currently pays. And now Governor Kathy Hochul wants to cut the salaries of Rosie and other home care workers. How will I and so many others cope? If the governor really wants to save money for New York’s taxpayers, she could take a look at getting rid of New York’s managed long-term care system, said Rob Cicoria, a Port Chester home care consumer.

New York’s Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) allows individuals with disabilities who rely on Medicaid to directly hire an at-home caregiver of their choice so they may remain in their own homes instead of being forced into faculties. In 2012, CDPAP was moved to managed long-term care plans—a system where private health insurance companies manage the delivery of home care, ostensibly to streamline services and save money. Yet this program has completely failed its purpose—it did not create cost savings and in fact has allowed health insurance middlemen to extract billions of dollars in profit out of the home care system. 

“I have lived in North Castle for nearly 52 years, with the last 20 in my present home. And yet now I’m terrified that I’ll be forced to leave in light of the governor’s proposed draconian budget cuts to home care. Why does Governor Hochul want to cut the pay of the women of color who predominantly make up the home care workforce? All my personal aides already work two to three jobs—and I’m always worried about them leaving for just one better paying job,” said Geri Mariano, a home care consumer.

Rather than address the real driver of growth in home care cost—excessive insurer profits and administrative costs—Governor Hochul’s budget squarely targets home care consumers and workers by slashing the wages of CDPAP workers by $3 an hour which would make it even more difficult for home care consumers to hire the help they need.

“I am proud that the Senate One-House budget resolution, passed yesterday, rejects Governor Hochul’s proposed cuts to home care workers’ wages in the CDPAP program. Seniors and those with disabilities deserve to live in dignity and as independently as possible in their homes, and their at-home caregivers who do indispensable work for their clients and our communities deserve a living wage.  We must keep fighting to ensure that the final enacted budget rejects these cuts and identifies a path for fully funding services for our most vulnerable residents and the wages for the caregivers who help them live independently,” said State Senator Shelley B. Mayer.

"The Legislature is united in the view that we must restore CDPAP funding and protect these vital services that make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of New Yorkers. Today we heard from home care workers and consumers of this essential program. We heard stirring testimony about the importance of CDPAP and remain determined and  hopeful we will be able to restore funding in the adopted budget,” said Assemblyman Steve Otis

Both the New York Senate and Assembly budgets released earlier this week reject the governor’s dangerous home care cuts to CDPAP. The Home Care Savings & Reinvestment Act (S7800/A8470) introduced in Albany this year would end the ability of for-profit insurance companies to rip-off home care consumers and taxpayers. This legislation will generate $3 billion in savings annually, which could be used to pay for growing home care needs, improve service quality, and ensure continuity of care by funding higher wages for home care workers to help resolve New York’s worst-in-the-nation home care worker shortage.

“Home care in New York is already on the brink of disaster, the governor’s CDPAP restrictions will take it over the edge and force thousands into nursing homes. The unprecedented cuts benefit nursing homes and strip away the option for many to be part of their community, and to live independently,” said Westchester Westchester Disabled on the Move Executive Director Maria Samuels.

“At a time when a record number of New Yorkers are reaching retirement and hoping to ‘grey in place,’ the idea is to attract more workers to the vital home care sector, not push them away. Taking care of our most vulnerable residents is meaningful, important work deserving of dignity and compensation that reflects society’s gratitude,” said State Senator Pete Harckham.

I am proud to stand with Westchester Disabled on the Move, Inc, 1199SEIU and many other community leaders to urge a reversal of the cuts to payment for home health care aids. Cutting services to people with disabilities who live independently would reduce their dignity and force people into assisted living facilities. Ironically, the cuts would actually end up costing more money than we currently spend just providing the necessary services. Furthermore, the heroes who tend to people in the home are hardworking frontline workers who deserve pay raises, not pay cuts. Societies are judged by how we treat our most vulnerable, and New York is better than this. I urge Governor Hochul not to go forward with these unjust cuts,” said White Plains Common Council Member Jeremiah Frei-Pearson