Jan 23, 2009 — Advocates for home health care are fanning out across the state to head off a proposal from Gov. Paterson to re-structure the way home health aides are paid. Rebecca Leahy, ex. dir. of a private not-for-profit that serves clients from northern Warren County to the Canadian border, in Franklin County, says the governor's plans would dismantle a system that's provided care to thousands of elderly and disabled people across the North Country for 25 years. Licensed, private not-for-profits provide in-home care under contract to counties. Leahy's organization, North Country Home Services, serves over 900 clients a day.
County public health nurses evaluate clients to determine what care each needs. The private agencies provide the aides that do the day-to-day in-home work. They're paid by Medicare money, passed through the counties. The governor wants to eliminate the private contracts. In order for Medicare to pay, his budget would require home health aides to be county employees. Leahy has talked with all the counties she has contracts with. She told Martha Foley it won't work.