BAYADA creates a program for employees facing a financial crisis

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The ongoing pandemic has created many issues in the home care industry, especially with regard to caregivers and their ability to work safely during the height of the pandemic. Many people did not want caregivers to enter their homes, and caregivers worried about their own exposure. But in an hourly work environment, if a caregiver can’t get a shift, they don’t get paid.

In response, BAYADA Home Health has expanded its existing Employee Assistance Fund to address COVID-19-specific challenges, such as child care, loss of transportation, and reduced shifts due to concerns about the virus. Through this fund, the company, which converted to a nonprofit in 2018, provided caregivers in crisis with more than $1 million in funding during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“[Leadership] thoughtful, let’s see if we can put together something that’s easy for our employees to contribute as well as the company to contribute and help these people through a very unusual set of circumstances,” said David Totaro, Director of Government Affairs at BAYADA . He added that the challenges employees were facing were not covered by government relief programs such as the Supplier Relief Fund.

BAYADA caregivers can donate a portion of their paychecks or paid time off (PTO) to the fund. No donation is expected, but at press time, employees had donated nearly $600,000 in cash and PTO combined to the fund. The company also received two anonymous donations of $10,000 from outside companies.

Customer Service Managers at BAYADA’s 360 Offices monitor where caregivers may be having difficulty and can refer people for grants of up to $500. A five-person committee from across the organization reviews each recommendation and typically makes a decision within five days. Appropriate funds go directly to the caregiver on their next paycheck.

The grants covered a wide range of expenses, Totaro said.

“A caregiver wanted to continue seeing her clients, but the bus route she was taking was canceled because the transportation company was laying off employees, so she was forced to take Uber or Lyft,” he said. declared. The grant helped her cover her costs to continue caring for her clients. Another grant helped
cover the burial costs of a caregiver who died due to COVID-19.

Totaro acknowledged that this program barely scratches the surface of industry needs. The company has nearly 30,000 caregivers nationwide and this program has awarded approximately 2,500 grants. Totaro said the next step is to tackle the issue of fair reimbursement at the national level.

“We really have to take into account that the salaries of these people are much lower than what they can get in retail or other positions, but they represent the foundation of our health care system,” he said. -he declares. “We need to develop an approach where these people are treated like professionals and paid the value they deserve.”

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