I hope you have had a rejuvenating break since the legislative session concluded. I am writing to draw your attention to the findings of the recently published America's Health Rankings 2023 Senior Report, which provides a snapshot of the health and well-being of older adults across the nation. This comprehensive report examines 52 measures from 22 data sources, including seniors' access to home health care workers.
Home health care plays a vital role for many older adults, enabling them to age in their own homes and communities while maintaining dignity and independence. Among the services provided by home health workers are nursing, therapy, and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, grooming, meal preparation, transportation, and companionship. In order for more than 125,000 Medicaid recipients enrolled in the long-term care program to age in place independently and safely, uninterrupted access to assistance with ADLs is essential.
The report reveals an overall improvement in access to care for older adults, with an increase in the number of geriatric providers and home health workers per capita. Even so, there is a significant shortage of home health workers, especially in Florida. The state ranks last in the country — the same as last year — with only 14.6 workers per 1,000 older adults. Comparatively, New York has 9.4 times more home health workers (137.6) than Florida — the highest and lowest rates respectively.
As the voice of more than 2,300 licensed home health agencies throughout Florida, the Home Care Association of Florida (HCAF) respectfully urges legislators to consider the following measures to address this critical issue:
- Increase Medicaid funding for home health to enable providers to offer competitive wages and benefits, attracting and retaining qualified workers.
Support state-funded training for home health workers, including certified nursing assistants (CNAs). The programs should provide training at no cost to create a pipeline of qualified professionals to meet the growing demand for home health services.
- Implement innovative approaches to workforce development, such as enhanced financial assistance for home health workers and initiatives to educate and train future professionals.
We firmly believe that taking these actions will significantly contribute to the well-being of older adults by safeguarding their access to high-quality and cost-effective in-home care.
I appreciate your consideration of this important matter. If you have any questions, require further information, or wish to discuss potential policy solutions, please contact me at (850) 222-8967 or email@example.com.