What They’re Saying

Mark Sullivan, director of operations for the Catholic Health System in Buffalo, NY, responded to a recent Buffalo News report on the wages earned by home healthcare aides by saying that the attraction to home care cannot be measured in wages alone. "We know the service our aides provide is priceless, but it is also important for the public to understand that wage scales in home care are, to a great extent, dictated by low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement," Sullivan wrote. He further wrote that in an employee satisfaction survey his employees complete each year, aides often reply to the question of what could make their job better by saying that they need more hours and better wages. "Recognizing that wages are between $7 and $8 per hour, we continue to address aide income at every opportunity."

"As a home care worker, I have been very pleased with your stories on the challenges we face providing care to senior citizens," Rick Philbrick recently wrote to the editor of the Portland Oregonian. "The pay is low, and we are not protected by minimum wage or workers’ compensation laws. I provide good home care, but if I got sick or injured, there would be no similar safety net for me." Philbrick further wrote, "I do my job because I care about my clients. I am proud that because of the care I provide, my client can remain in her home, instead of going into a nursing home."

Louisiana’s Extended Home Health Program helps finance in-home care for a small population of medically fragile children, many of whom are dependent on advanced-technology life support equipment, and is often overlooked by the press, Brenda Costa, regional director of nursing for Pediatric Services of America, recently wrote to the editor of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "Without funding for this program, many parents will be forced to institutionalize their children at an even higher cost to the state," Costa wrote. Not only does the program save Louisiana money, but it allows family members to take a more active role in the the care of their sick or disabled child at home.