Bill Passes Both Houses and Gives Home Health Care Workers Emergency Status to Help Patients in Need
Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D - Mid-Island), Senator Andrew Lanza and Senator Diane Savino today announced passage of their legislation, A.6530-B/S.4719-B, which would require New York City to adopt a comprehensive emergency management plan and include provisions for the deployment of home health aides and hospice caregivers during local emergencies.
The bill, which passed both the Senate and the Assembly this legislative session, gives home health aides and
hospice caregivers the designation as “essential personnel” in cases of declared emergencies. In the wake of Superstorm
Sandy, home health aides, therapists and hospice caregivers played a vital role in response to the disaster, reaching
vulnerable patients in need of services, supplies or support with evacuation.
“During times of crisis, home care providers are essential in providing critical support to the elderly, disabled
and chronically ill patients who are in their care each and every day,” said Assemblyman Cusick. “What we saw during
and after the storm was complete chaos with scores of home care workers unable to reach their patients. There were
roadblocks set up to limit traffic to emergency workers only and gas shortages that delayed their ability to reach
those in desperate need of care.”
Senator Andrew Lanza said, “While many businesses shut down during Hurricane Sandy to ensure that their employees could remain safely inside, our underpaid nurses and home aides confronted Sandy head-on, actually increasing their hours to tend to the patients who depend on in-home medical care. During and after the storm, aides shared rides to cope with gas shortages and mass transit shutdowns, took over each other's patients when proximity and logistics demanded, and shared supplies, meals and support as they continued bringing quality care to the vulnerable Americans. This bill will assist our home health care workers whose services are critical in the face of an emergency.”
“This legislation is a common sense measure that grants the home health care workers “essential personnel”
status, allowing them to use their vehicles to get to patients in such an emergency. They also would be exempt from
any emergency curfews. In the midst of this crisis, homebound individuals went without medicine, supplies and basic
daily care that they normally received from their nurses and aides. Most were without heat and electricity further
exacerbating an already dangerous situation. The home care workers certainly should be commended for their valiant
efforts to reach their patients. In so many cases, they walked, lugging supplies, took public transportation, climbed
numerous flights of stairs with only a flashlight to shine the way to get to their homebound patients. Seeing first-hand
the critical problems that arose, I want to ensure the safety of my community should another disaster strike,” said
"During and after Superstorm Sandy my office received countless stories of home health aides abandoned people
requiring assistance to evacuate, Access-a-Ride reservation line shut down 24 hours before the storm and our most
vulnerable where the ones who paid the price, this legislation ensures that will never happen again." Said State
Senator Diane Savino.
The bill will be delivered to the Governor.