Pennsylvania Survey Finds that Residents Support Increased State Funding for Home Health Aides

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happy senior woman on wheelchair with caregiver

In a recent survey administered by Morning Consult—an industry-leading survey research firm—90% of Pennsylvanians feel it is important that home health aides make at least $15 per hour. The BAYADA-commissioned survey also found that 79% of Pennsylvanians are concerned that low current wages for these aides will lead to a workforce shortage in the in-home caregiving sector. Furthermore, the survey found that Pennsylvania residents believe aides should be paid more than $20 per hour. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average home health aide in Pennsylvania makes $12.40 per hour. 

These findings illustrate that increasing state support for home health care is important to state residents. Home health care has a significant impact in the wider healthcare continuum, particularly now as home care helps keep medically-fragile Pennsylvanians out of costlier and more potentially-infectious congregate healthcare settings such as hospitals and nursing homes.

“Aides play an incredible, life-saving and compassionate role in the Commonwealth,” says BAYADA Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro. “They keep people safe and healthy at home and deserve a fair wage for the emotionally- and physically-tolling work they do. But currently, providers struggle to recruit and retain home health aides, as many are attracted to work in other settings—like hospitals and nursing homes, and other industries—like fast food and retail, where they can earn higher wages.”

Aides provide professional in-home caregiving services to more than 100,000 Pennsylvania residents with disabilities and other medical fragilities under several state funded programs. Beneficiaries of these programs, including the personal assistance services (PAS) program, are primarily seniors and adults with disabilities that are economically disadvantaged and/or permanently disabled and wish to remain independent in their communities with home care services.

Providers, clients, and other advocates cite inadequate state funding as a major contributing factor for the severe caregiver recruitment and retention issues that currently prevent vulnerable Pennsylvania residents from accessing the care for which they are medically authorized. The Pennsylvania Homecare Association (PHA) surveyed its members and found that 100% are experiencing workforce shortage issues, and that 88% are actively declining PAS cases due to inability to staff. As a result of this workforce shortage, even clients with coverage are suffering: BAYADA found that in Pennsylvania, its rate of unfilled hours doubled since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Industry advocates have been urging state lawmakers to increase PAS funding by 15.35% to enable providers to increase aides’ wages and compete for the necessary workforce. In December, the State announced that it would increase PAS funding by 8%. While industry advocates are thankful for this increase, 8% does not enable most providers to expand wages to compete with other employers for the workforce. Of note, the Morning Consult survey found that after learning aides’ wages would increase slightly due to the 8% funding increase, but would likely still be less than even $15 per hour, 74% of Pennsylvania adults said it was important to increase the funding formula further.

PAS clients, caregivers, and community advocates are asking the State to expand the PAS funding increase to the full 15.35% to offset the workforce crisis that is plaguing the industry. “At the end of the day, it is vulnerable state residents that suffer most because they cannot get the home care hours they are qualified for. We hope that Morning Consult’s survey shows lawmakers how important PAS is to Pennsylvania’s families who wish to keep their loved ones out of nursing homes and hospitals,” adds Totaro.

ABOUT BAYADA HOME HEALTH CARE:

Founded in 1975 by J. Mark Baiada, BAYADA Home Health Care provides nursing, rehabilitative, therapeutic, hospice, and assistive care services to children, adults, and seniors in the comfort of their homes. Headquartered in suburban Philadelphia, BAYADA employs more than 25,000 nurses, home health aides, therapists, medical social workers, and other home health care professionals who serve their communities in 22 states from more than 335 offices with locations in Germany, India, Ireland, and South Korea. For more information, visit bayada.com.