Home Care CEO Sees Strength in Immigrant Labor Pool

Many home health agencies across the country agree that finding and recruiting caregivers is one of the biggest challenges, if not the greatest challenge, they face.

“The challenge is to find good caregivers or home health aides, CNAs, that will stay with you, show the best face of the company and provide good service,” Lenny Verkhoglaz, CEO of New Jersey-based home care franchising company Executive Home Care Franchising, LLC, told Home Health Care News. “Retaining caregivers is a challenge.”

One solution to the caregiving challenge is to tap into the immigrant labor pool, and Verkhoglaz fears this soon could become more difficult.

Immigrants in Health Care

In some regions of the country, legal immigrants are finding a career path in health care and, specifically, home care.

One New Jersey-based private duty home care provider, Care Assist, has looked to tap a niche workforce by partnering with a nursing home with roots in the Filipino community. The labor pool he has found is eager and qualified to perform home care duties.

In New England, where the population is aging faster than almost another other place in the country, immigrants are working with a Boston-based group to be trained to become healthcare workers, local media and radio outlet WBUR reported.

The training is a method that Verkhoglaz agrees with, particularly as he believes the challenge of finding qualified caregivers is likely to grow in the coming years. At the same time, demand for home care will skyrocket as Americans age.

“The biggest challenge is recruiting, getting good caregivers,” Verkhoglaz said. “We do not lack clients, just quality caregivers. And it will get worse—the ratio of caregiver to client is going to decrease. The number of seniors is expanding over the next five to ten years versus availability of quality caregivers.”

Opposition to Immigration 

While recruiting immigrants could potentially expand the labor pool for future caregivers, the incoming Trump administration could pose challenges related to immigration. President-elect Trump has remained staunchly opposed to increasing immigration to the United States.

However, future regulation that would make it harder for immigrants to work legally in the U.S. could put a squeeze on the rising demand for qualified caregivers. Verkhoglaz agrees that immigration restrictions could negatively impact demand for caregivers, and he is a proponent of making immigration easier.

“I’m a huge proponent of legalizing so-called ‘illegal people,’ and providing them with some kind of stable way of remaining in this country,” Verkhoglaz said. “[We can] train them, certify them. There’s got to be smart immigration policy that will allow these underground people to come up and get work. Our industry is in need. [I’m a proponent] of making the process simple so people can take advantage of the work.”

Written by Amy Baxter

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Amy Baxter
Assistant Editor at Home Health Care News
When not writing about all things home health, Amy fulfills her lifelong dream of becoming a pirate by sailing in regattas and enjoying rum. Fun fact: she sailed 333 miles across Lake Michigan in the Chicago Yacht Club "Race to Mackinac."