Home health aide worker with patient (161166)
Credit: Flickr

The end of the latest session in the New York State legislature saw a few groups unsatisfied that their cause wasn’t considered and some that were ecstatic.

Include members of 1199SEIU in the latter camp.

Before Albany went on a break in June, both the Assembly and the Senate passed the Advanced Home Health Aide Bill (A10707/S8110), which enables the elderly and people with disabilities to continue living in their communities by allowing registered nurses to assign additional tasks (such as medication administration) to home health aides who undertake more training.

George Gresham, president of 1199SEIU, praised the bill’s passing in a statement.

“The advanced home health aide bill passed by the Legislature yesterday will allow more New Yorkers with age-related and other disabilities to live safely and independently in their communities,” said Gresham. “In doing so it will provide relief for family caregivers and a career ladder for home care workers.

“Working together, our State leadership has significantly enhanced the long-term supports and services available to vulnerable New York State residents,” continued Gresham. “We were proud to work with a broad coalition of consumers, home care providers, insurers and labor unions to champion this important bill.”

The bill also provides new opportunities for career advancement for home care workers.

“By training workers to perform additional tasks, we enhance the quality of care provided to the residents of New York State and recognize the vital role that home care workers can play in keeping their clients healthy at home,” said 1199SEIU Home Care Executive Vice President Rona Shapiro, in a statement. “The Legislature and our allies worked long and hard on this bill, and we are very happy with the outcome.”

The bill is set to take effect in 2018. Sequoia Charles, a home health aide who helped lobby for the bill, stated, “I’m excited to have the opportunity to perform a wider array of tasks that will benefit the clients I work with.”