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Letter: Wage hike will devastate vital home care industry

Wage hike will devastate vital home care industry

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed minimum wage increase, while well-intentioned, would have devastating consequences for New York’s home care industry.

Everyone agrees that home care workers deserve to be paid more. They provide valuable services for elderly, chronically ill and disabled New Yorkers who need assistance with daily living. But with an industry that is primarily funded by Medicaid and Medicare, it comes down to simple math: If government reimbursements do not keep up with our costs, we cannot sustain our businesses.

Home care agencies in Western New York are already facing critical cash-flow shortages due to steeply rising labor costs, inadequate reimbursements and unfulfilled funding promises from the state – all while navigating a rapidly changing and increasingly complex health care system.

The governor’s proposed budget would increase costs for the home care industry by more than $1.1 billion over the next two years, but fails to provide any additional funding for the state’s Medicaid program. After years of declining margins, home care agencies cannot absorb a wage increase of this magnitude.

Cuomo and the State Legislature have a responsibility to ensure that home care agencies will be there for New York’s most vulnerable citizens when they need it.

Bader Peters Reynolds, MS, RN

Executive Vice President/COO

CareGivers Home Care

Tonawanda