by Dave Gardner
Rising costs for elder care, steeply increasing numbers of seniors and the advantages of caring for the needy apart from a nursing home are among the issues confronted by the new president of the Pennsylvania Homecare Association (PHA), Mia Haney.
In a way, Haney’s ascension to the PHA’s presidency is a family affair. Her father Paul Bartoletti, a long-time owner-operator of personal care homes and later the creator of his own home care agency then known as CareGivers America, served as PHA president from 2012 to 2013.
With Pennsylvania among the top states in regard to the number of elderly residents, Haney is immersed in a bustling profession. She holds the post of president with the Pennsylvania Operations for All Metro Health Care – CareGivers America, which is based in Clarks Summit and serves 4,000 to 5,000 clients in their homes via the efforts of 4,000 employees who usually work a per diem flex schedule.
Haney grew up in Clarks Summit and attended Scranton Prep, where she participated in soccer and cheerleading. She became comfortable with the presence of the elderly while helping out in her father’s care facilities, which later were sold and followed by the launch of CareGivers America.
All Metro Health Care purchased CareGivers America several years ago, and the organization is now squarely within the crosshairs of increased budgetary pressures for senior services. Financial reality tells the story, where a month’s residence in a care home tallies about $10,000 versus $4,000 per month for home care.
On a national level, approximately 10,000 people celebrate their 65th birthday every day and enter the ranks of senior citizens. Many are co-morbid with multiple health problems requiring care or chronic treatment.
As president of the PHA, Haney is expressing her passion for increased access to care for these folks. Most of the clients needing extended care are not Medicaid eligible, leaving them with few financial options.
“My sincere hope is that during my term we are able to make access to homecare a quicker and easier process,” said Haney. “The system today is challenging across all types of home health care, whether it’s the lengthy process of applying for Medicaid waivers or the challenge of training physicians and other healthcare professionals about what is truly available, all the way through the hospice benefit.”
She emphasized that, across the state, staffing remains the number one challenge being confronted by home care agencies. In addition, an endless chain of government regulatory changes must be dealt with, plus tight budgets, as well as the reality that massive federal government deficits must eventually be controlled.
“It would be shortsighted not to express concern about the future of government funding,” said a concerned Haney. “This is one of the reasons I’m so into what I do, and I am a champion for the rights of the elderly. Our primary concern must be to ensure that the right for basic health care is maintained, including simple things such as hot meals and a bath.”
Quality of life
Haney describes herself as an operationally-minded leader who continually addresses issues affecting quality of life. Another focus during her term as PHA president will be to manage the transition to managed care currently occurring in Pennsylvania courtesy of Harrisburg.
“I believe that this new model now being instituted in Harrisburg has the potential to benefit patients significantly,” said Haney. “Yet, our biggest challenge will be to proving the worth of home care across the health care continuum while making our voices heard.”
Haney added that, from an operational standpoint, she also will continue efforts for the home care industry to standardize the way it collects and shares data to drive outcomes for its clients. This will accentuate the industry’s ability to deliver its services in both health and cost-effective manners, while saving significant dollars within preventative, curative and palliative systems.