It’s time to walk the walk on home care

Posted 6/14/22

An interesting aspect of advocating for home care in Pennsylvania is that everyone agrees with you.

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It’s time to walk the walk on home care


An interesting aspect of advocating for home care in Pennsylvania is that everyone agrees with you.

Legislators and the administration unanimously agree that individuals strongly prefer receiving care in their homes, and that increased funds are necessary to hire enough caregivers to provide the necessary care. Unfortunately, when it comes to budget time, all too often necessary funds are not allocated to home care. Again and again, over the last decade, home care providers have watched as funds go to others on the healthcare continuum.

To be clear, we have supported additional funding for our healthcare colleagues. There is no doubt that hospitals, nursing homes and others have needed funding in recent years. But when 90 percent of seniors strongly prefer care at home, and 98 percent of Pennsylvania’s home care providers are turning cases away because of the inability to staff them, we have an obvious problem—one that can only be solved by committing necessary funds to increase wages for direct care workers.

Almost half a million Pennsylvanians receive some form of in-home care in a given year, including about 115,000 who receive Medicaid-funded home and community-based services.

Direct-care workers help the people they care for get in and out of bed. They help them shower and use the bathroom. They assist with meal preparation and eating. If someone can’t get out of bed by themselves, they are stuck there until someone comes to help. If they can’t shower or use the bathroom alone safely, they have to wait until a caregiver is there to assist. If they can’t safely prepare meals for themselves, they go without breakfast, lunch, or dinner until someone can help. 

Many Pennsylvanians in need do not have friends or family members who can step in, and at some point, nursing homes or facility-based care may be the only option. 

It doesn’t have to be that way.

The current state budget proposal [as of press time, the budget has not passed] only supports paying Medicaid-funded direct-care workers $12 to $13 per hour. No one thinks that is sufficient to recruit and retain enough quality caregivers to provide necessary in-home care. 

At half the cost of facility-based care, home care is not only better for the commonwealth’s seniors and others in need, it is better for the commonwealth’s budget.

Funds are available now, and Pennsylvania must use them to fund cost-effective, life-sustaining care where everyone wants to receive it, in their homes and communities.

Pennsylvania’s policymakers, we thank you for agreeing that additional funds are necessary. But now we need legislators and the administration to walk the walk and put your money where your mouth is. Pick your own cliché, but fund home care. It’s where you—and everyone else you know—wants to receive care. Support it. Commit to helping seniors and individuals with disabilities receive cost-effective, strongly preferred care in their homes, surrounded by friends and family, where they want to be.

If we don’t support the home care system now, it won’t be there for any of us when we need it. Please fund home care now.

Teri Henning is the CEO of the Pennsylvania Homecare Association, a statewide organization of nearly 700 home health, homecare and hospice providers. To learn more, visit the PHA website at

homecare, home owners, care, providers


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