HCAOA New York Chapter Co-chair and owner of Right at Home – North Shore Long Island Zubin Kapadia met recently with New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-15) to discuss critical legislative matters. Sen. Addabbo said he supported the legislation to increase caregiver wages in the 2022 budget, which Kapadia also supports, and recognizes the need to incentivize and retain good aides. However, he noted that the legislation was driven principally by the proponents of labor, and thus the impact on private pay agencies and seniors was not fully considered. Zubin Kapadia stated, “I laid the blame for that on us as business owners to do more to educate the legislature on the downstream impact of these laws; i.e. private pay client rates will increase, families will be burdened with paying more out of pocket, and many will file for state Medicaid or go to the gray market for care. I noted that most of our clients are “family funded” and there is a huge misconception that private pay homecare is only for the wealthy. I mentioned that as opposed to Medicaid agencies, we will not get any offset in the form of higher reimbursements, and thus a tax credit would be the most appropriate way to protect seniors and level the playing field.”
Educating lawmakers is critical. Senator Addabbo said he might be willing to support the credit and asked for some language for review before next year’s budget. The senator suggested starting with Senators Gustavo Rivera (Chair, Health) and Rachel May (Sponsor of the Min Wage Bill) and then informing other legislators like him who can rally behind the proposal.
Kapadia provided background on his non-profit, the Caregivers Advancement Fund, which was set up in 2021 to support caregivers with emergency and education grants. The Fund is designed to incentivize caregivers and bring more people into the profession, which is a significant issue given the rising demand for care over the next 20 years. The latest initiative involves a tripartite collaboration with a refugee resettlement agency (CAMBA), an HHA/PCA training school, and Right at Home. The program will train refugees, asylees, and those with temporary protected status (mainly from Russia and Ukraine) and place them in caregiver jobs after they receive their certificates. We will start with a cohort of 10 students, monitor their progress, and replicate the program several times if successful. Senator Addabbo was a big proponent of supporting immigrants with job training and education.