|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2006
New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation
Approves Home Health Care Agency Contracts
New HHC contract standards aim to improve employee wages
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) today approved a new three-year contract for home care services that will help raise wages and health benefits for the modest number of home health aides serving public hospital patients.
HHC expanded their vendor selection criteria for home health services to account for hourly wages and health benefits that vendors offer their employees. In the past, vendors were solely selected based on quality of care standards and competitive billing rates.
“We monitor agencies closely to ensure quality care - that is ultimately the priority. But, this year we sent a very clear message to the vendors that fair employee wages will also heavily factor into their standing to do business with HHC,” said Alan D. Aviles, President and CEO of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. “And we are willing to pay the vendors who employ these important workers to get the level of service we require.”
Under the new contract, HHC increased hourly rates to vendors by nearly 11 percent – from an average of $11.82 an hour to $13.20. The employee hourly wage, with benefits, will also increase to an average of $9 per hour and go as high as $11.39 per hour.
Because of the new, stringent requirements, less than one third of the home health care agencies originally solicited responded to the HHC request for proposals.
HHC’s contracted home health agencies last year handled about 5% of the entire pool of home health aide services across the city. Twelve of the twenty vendors under the new contact are unionized.
HHC evaluates agencies on their risk management, compliance and requires contracting agencies to assure their ability to function effectively in the event of a transit strike, snow storm, blackout or other NYC crisis. When assigning cases, HHC also considers whether contract agencies have a stable workforce with low turn-over rates and high reliability and responsiveness to accept assignments.
“Our contracted home health agency partners must be able to prove they can serve the city’s public hospital patients who depend on them and who are often the most vulnerable in our population,” said Aviles. “We also consider retention rates as an indicator of employee satisfaction – and satisfied employees ultimately provide better care to our patients.”
HHC will commence contracts on March 1, 2006 with the following 20 community-based professional home health care providers: Access Nursing Services, Able Health Care, All Metro Health, Allen Health Care Services, Any-Time Home Care, AccentCare of New York, Metro Care Givers, Barele, Bestcare, Family Aides, Fedcap Home Care, Gotham Per Diem, PHC Services, Personal Touch Home Care of NY, People Care, Premier Home Health Services, Progressive Home Health Services, Priority Home Care, Reliable Community Care and Unlimited Care.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) is the largest municipal healthcare system in the country. HHC operates a network of 11 hospitals, six diagnostic and treatment centers, four long-term care facilities, over 80 community clinics and a home health care agency. HHC serves 1.3 million New Yorkers annually and provides care to all regardless of ability to pay, including more nearly 450,000 who have no health insurance.