The Training System
In New York, home care aides are divided into two categories – personal care aides (PCAs), also known as home attendants, and home health aides (HHAs). PCAs provide assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as bathing and dressing, as well as Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), such as laundry and meal preparation. HHAs provide the same ADL and IADL assistance, as well as assistance with some health-related tasks, such as taking vital signs or changing dry dressings.
New York requires PCAs to complete an initial training of at least 40 hours, with an additional 6 hours per year of in-service training. Home health aides are required to complete an initial training of at least 75 hours, with an additional 12 hours per year of in-service training.
Training Programs In NY, there are three types of training entities from which home care aides can receive their initial training:
- Licensed Home Care Services Agencies – Home care providers licensed by the Department of Health (DOH) to operate an approved home care aide training, which are prohibited from charging more than $100 for incidentals;
- Proprietary schools – Schools approved by the State Education Department (SED) that typically charge a range of fees; and
- Colleges, Post-secondary Schools, and Educational Opportunity Centers – Training courses approved by SED that may charge some fees but also provide tuition assistance.
Advanced Home Health Aide
At the end of the 2016 session, the NYS legislature passed a bill that will create an Advanced Home Health Aide (AHHA) occupation. This legislation provides workers who have been certified as an HHA, and have worked as either an HHA or PCA for at least a year, the opportunity to become an AHHA, upon additional training and certification.
The legislation authorizes AHHAs to perform certain advanced tasks, including the administration of routine pre-measured, pre-filled medications--as well as the injection of insulin and low-molecular Heparin.
Once Governor Cuomo signs the bill, a workgroup will be convened to develop regulations and other specific steps leading to the graduation of the first AHHAs. This bill is the culmination of over five years of work on behalf of PHI and other partners, including a workgroup of stakeholders which issued recommendations in 2015 (pdf). It provides HHAs with the opportunity to move up the career ladder and fills a gap in care for their clients. PHI will continue to work to ensure the successful implementation of this new occupation.