Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of Americans are now opting to “age in place” in their homes. To meet this growing demand for in-home care, VNS Health is ramping up its recruitment of home health aides (HHAs) with the help of $12 million in public funding.
The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan, which was enacted by Congress in 2021. It provides states across the country with additional Medicaid dollars to support the hiring, training and retention of HHAs. New York State designated its portion to home care organizations like VNS Health and other providers through a program to invest in the long-term care workforce.
The funding includes money earmarked for bonuses to VNS Health HHAs for their heroic work on the front lines of the pandemic; additional workforce retention bonuses; training subsidies; and money to implement new strategies for hiring VNS Health HHAs in Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk Counties—areas where HHA recruitment has been historically difficult.
The award was time-limited, and must be spent by March 31, 2023. “We’ve already distributed around $2.6 million to our HHAs,” says Jim Rolla, Senior Vice President of VNS Health Personal Care. “We are grateful to the federal and state government for this funding to help us recruit new aides and help ensure that we keep the thousands of dedicated aides who are with us now, in order to meet the needs of our clients and members.”