Home care workers in New Jersey could soon find it easier to park when visiting clients, and home care companies could save money currently being spent on fines, fees and other parking-related expenses.
Those costs can be considerable. A Bayada Home Health Care office in Hudson County paid out about $11,000 in 2017 related to parking stickers, fines, towing costs, and similar expenses, according to recent column in The Jersey Journal. Bayada confirmed that reported cost to Home Health Care News.
Based in Moorestown, New Jersey, Bayada is one of the largest home health providers in the nation, serving 22 states. The company employs more than 10,000 people in New Jersey.
The Jersey Journal column was written by Joan Quigley, a former assemblywoman from Jersey City, who was touting a bill currently under consideration in the state legislature. The measure, introduced in the New Jersey General Assembly as A3683, would make home care workers exempt from certain parking rules while they are on the job.
Among the bill’s provisions, it would allow home health care workers to park—including overnight—on streets usually reserved for local residents, as well as in university and college lots. The workers would also be allowed to park overtime in metered spots.
The bill calls for home health care agencies to purchase a vehicle placard for each caregiver, who would then display the placard when on the clock. Workers caught using the placard while not providing services would be subject to a $100 fine.
Home care agencies would have to purchase the placards from the state, and the bill proposes a cost of up to $50. That could add up, but Bayada would prefer to pay this upfront fee rather than the fines and tickets that accumulate, company representatives told Quigley. Bayada also believes the bill could improve care quality by preventing late or missed appointments, and could improve worker satisfaction.
“The passage of this bill will help us recruit and retain home care nurses by removing the parking challenge that they currently face before even walking into their clients’ homes,” Louise Lindenmeier, Bayada’s government affairs area director, told HHCN. “It also ensures that New Jersey residents have access to needed home care. There are some cities right now where we are unable to provide home care to residents because our nurses cannot get to and park at the clients’ homes. This access to care issue is distressing and we look forward to being able to care for those residents once this bill hopefully becomes law.”
The bill was first introduced in March and was advanced by the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee earlier this month.
Quigley anticipates that the measure—which also has two sponsors in the state’s Senate—will pass by the end of the year, followed by an eight-month process to distribute the placards and implement regulations.
“Parking should not be an obstacle in the way of providing critical home healthcare services across our state,” said Assemblywoman Carol Murphy (D-Burlington), one of the bill’s sponsors, in a press release. “This is an important step to expand access to care for patients who depend on it.”
Written by Tim Mullaney