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Budget increases wage for home health care workers, advocates say it's not enough

Posted at 9:12 PM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 21:41:10-04

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — Investing more money in the healthcare workforce profession was a priority in the 2023 New York State Executive Budget.

More than $10 billion of the $220 billion budget will be invested into healthcare.

“We cannot continue to have the health care services that New Yorkers deserve under these circumstances. So to stop t he hemorrhaging of health care workers, let's stop talking about how we owe them a debt of gratitude and pay them that debt,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.

$4 billion will go to support the wages and bonuses for health care workers.

“We've heard a lot about our home health care aides and workers. They've been through a lot as well. We know how important they are to families and their sense of security,” Hochul said. “We'll provide nearly $7.4 billion for a $3 wage increase for home health care aides. That's just the beginning.”

Healthcare workers are rejoicing at the news. President of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East George Gresham says this is good news for the home health care industry.

“This budget makes significant investments to protect the well-being of New Yorkers, notably a meaningful pay raise for front line home care workers and increased funding for safety net hospitals.”

Those like Renee Christian in Buffalo, who depend on home care aides daily say this isn’t enough.

“The increase would put it at $15.20 the first year. You can still make more at Tim Hortons. You can still make more at Target. It's still not competitive,” she said.

Renee says she won’t stop fighting.

“I refuse to stop advocating. This is not going to fix the problem. This is not a fight about money. This is a fight about right to life. I've said this all along. We're bleeding out, and you're trying to put a band-aid on it.”