A bill designed to give home health care companies the ability to hire shift workers instead of live-in aids passed the House Health and Long Term Care Committee recently and is now available to be taken up by the full House.
Senate Bill 42, by Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa, and Dave Rader, R-Tulsa, would allow private home health care companies to schedule workers for four- to eight-hour shifts rather than the 24 hours now prescribed in law.
“These workers would still have to pass background checks and would still have to be trained by a Registered Nurse,” Dills said. “COVID showed us that many of our seniors who were forced to stay at home during the pandemic just need occasional help, such as with bathing, making meals or with transportation. Not every senior needs 24-hour assistance. This gives our seniors freedom to choose and greater flexibility as well as lower costs for their care.”
Dills said more health care workers are needed to meet the needs of an aging population in the state and the nation. Statistics show that 10,000 baby boomers reach the age of 65 every year, with 90% wanting to age in place, and yet 75% of those have multiple health issues with which they need help. There is an expected shortage of about 450,000 health care workers despite this being one of the fastest-growing fields.