Saturday, January 10, 2009

Parade Magazine sounds alarm on home health worker pay, and availability in the future

Parade Magazine this weekend (for the Jan. 11 Sunday papers) has an alarming sidebar on p. 6, “Will we lose home health care?” The link for the piece, by Meg Massey, is here. The background of the problem seems to be the demographic "winter storm" which is far more significant in the established "middle class" (and in Europe even more than the United States) than among minorities or especially immigrants (mostly legal or sometimes perhaps not). The short article predicts that the demand for home health workers will increase 40% in the next ten years. Lois Capps (D-CA) has proposed legislation to raise Medicaid reimbursement rates for home health workers, and to improve their situation with respect to exempt status (HR 3582, 2007). Her House website is this. The details available on the Web on some of her legislation look a bit fragmentary (with some files gone), but I’ll try to follow this and find out more.

The topic is important because without vital home health business, more people will be forced into assisted living and nursing homes -- which also may be at overcapacity. So more adults -- especially those who did not start their own families -- will be forced to give up their careers and become caregivers, whether by choice or not.

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