AAA9 Provider Roundtable (November 1, 2022)
The Area Agency on Aging Region 9, Inc. held a roundtable discussion on the current workforce shortage crisis, affecting older and disabled adults and home health providers across the state. The roundtable was held at AAA9’s office, 710 Wheeling Avenue, Cambridge, on November 1, 2022, 10am-12pm.
AAA9 has approximately three hundred individuals on a waiting list for home care services. There is a critical shortage of home health care aides, due, in part, to low wages, and competition from fast food and retail establishments offering higher wages. When the individuals on the waiting list cannot get services, they are most likely to enter a nursing facility, and not be able to live at home, which is their primary choice.
The roundtable discussion was hybrid, with home healthcare providers, Guernsey County Commissioners, and AAA9 staff present in person; while Representative Darrell Kick, and Ashlynn Almay, the legislative aide for Representative Adam Holmes, along with other individuals participating virtually. Many providers spoke about the difficulty maintaining workers and the danger of accepting this as the norm.
“What we have accepted as a community is this, 15% of our people are at home not receiving a service” stated Fosterbridge President, Mato Kret, further stressing the importance of the fundamental change that is needed so that home care becomes a guaranteed service to society.
We also heard from a PASSPORT consumer on how she has been impacted by this crisis, and that she felt she had no choice but to turn to a nursing facility when her needs exceeded what could be provided, without a home health aide to assist her. Beth Kowalski, Chief Policy Officer for the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging (O4A) spoke about the workable solutions to the workforce crisis. Beth reported raising the provider reimbursement rates by 50% would help allow providers to offer a living wage for their direct service workers.
AAA9 will continue to collaborate with our provider network, local individuals, and our legislators to promote further discussions and develop solutions to the current crisis. Jim Endly, CEO/President of AAA9 ended the discussion with a call to action, to advocate for our provider network and our consumers.
The Area Agency on Aging, Region 9, is one of 12 Area Agencies on Aging, in the state of Ohio and part of a 670-member network across the country. AAA9 covers nine counties in Ohio: Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Guernsey, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson, Muskingum, and Tuscarawas. AAA9 also covers five additional counties: Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry and Washington for the Ohio Home Care Waiver and Specialized Recovery Services programs.