Across the country and especially in rural areas such as upstate New York, the elderly and disable are at risk of losing the home and community-based care services they depend on (Fuel's surge a headache for home health providers, July 21).
The rising cost of gasoline has resulted in difficulties serving rural home care patients and occupations where travel is not required.
Home care is more cost effective than institutional care and often preferred over a nursing home. An aging population and the desire to remain at home is driving the demand for home care, but record high fuel prices are reducing accessibility to this vital service.
In New York alone, home care workers drive nearl half-a-billion miles each year! This staggering number means that high fuel prices have a large negative impact on providing care.
It is essential that government officials intervene immediately to reverse this disturbing trend of rural home care patients not being able to obtain the services they need to stay at home. This can be done in part through additional government funding for rural cases and Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for telehealth monitoring systems that allow services to be delivered to patients through technological advances.
Phyllis A. Wang
New York State Association of Health Care Providers, Inc.