Governor Wolf: Supreme Court Decision a Victory for Seniors, People with Disabilities
August 21, 2018
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf said today’s Pennsylvania Supreme Court Decision to allow his 2015 homecare executive order to proceed is a victory for seniors and people with disabilities in Pennsylvania.
“Today’s Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision is a victory for seniors, people with disabilities, and homecare workers,” Governor Wolf said. “The court’s decision affirms a key part of my plan to provide choices for seniors, improve home and community-based care and attract more qualified homecare attendants.
“Pennsylvania’s older population is rapidly growing. By 2030, one in four people in the state will be age 65 and older, and half of those will need some form of daily care. Most seniors prefer to live in their own home with their families to get that care. They deserve to have that choice while also saving costs to taxpayers. We must prepare now to meet the demand and ensure the homecare sector can attract the qualified workers to care for those who need it most.”
Governor Wolf signed the executive order in January 2015 as a first step in rebalancing the state’s homecare system. The order ensures that homecare workers have a voice in shaping the future of the industry and seniors have choices about where to receive care. The executive order does not grant collective bargaining rights to workers, does not force them to join a union, does not make them state employees, and does not give them a right to enter into a contract with the state.
Since the order was signed, the departments of Aging and Human Services have been successfully implementing programs to expand services for older Pennsylvanians, reduce long-term care costs and ensure seniors have choices about where to age, as well as launching an online homecare directory.
To address providing access to quality care in seniors’ home and communities, the Wolf Administration successfully launched Community HealthChoices (CHC) in the southwest region in January 2018. Now, approximately 80,000 participants have an active voice in how and where they receive their services and supports. When fully implemented, CHC will impact the lives of 420,000 Pennsylvanians, 94 percent of whom are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. This population includes our most vulnerable friends, family members, and neighbors. The CHC program will be rolled out in SE Pennsylvania in 2019 and the remainder of the state in 2020.
The state’s online homecare directory, PA Link to Community Care, features 12 service and support categories, including Advocacy, Behavioral Health, Employment, Finance, Health Care, Housing, In-Home Services, Legal, Meals, Protection from Abuse, Support Groups, and Transportation. Users can find information about organizations, services, and programs within these categories.
One major component to the site is its homecare directory, which connects individuals to in-home services available in their county. More than 350 in-home service providers appearing on the searchable directory may offer personal care, assistance with activities of daily living, companionship services, respite care, and/or habilitation services. Listings currently include only organizations that provide in-home services, but enhancements to the directory will be made using data and feedback from users to expand the resources and information provided. Future enhancements will allow individuals to search for independent direct care workers as well. Since the site’s November 2017 launch, over 7,500 users have accessed the website more than 20,000 times for information on services and supports available in their local communities.
“We continue to make progress in support of seniors and people with disabilities and the court’s decision in favor of the executive order will help us in that effort, as well as offer support for the homecare workers providing these vital services.” Gov. Wolf said.