Forum held on shortage of CNAs and home health care workers

Mercy Care will bring two experts to Paul Smith’s

PAUL SMITHS — A day-long educational forum at Paul Smith’s College on Nov. 6 will focus on a shortage of certified nursing assistants and home health care workers.

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, Catholic Health, Cleveland Clinic and Ascension Michigan have announced an innovative $20 million partnership to benefit caregivers.

The Nov. 6 forum will provide an overview of THRIVE, a pilot project that aims to increase retention of certified nursing assistants and home health care workers. The goal is not just to increase the status of care workers but to change the field as a whole.

The presentation will highlight the decline in caregivers nationwide and what is influencing these declines. THRIVE will be highlighted as a potential solution that once demonstrated could be replicated on a national level.

Hosted by Mercy Care for the Adirondacks, with support from Adirondack Foundation, the forum features two nationally recognized experts: Joyce Markiewicz, RN, BSN, MBA, CHCE, executive vice president and chief business development officer at Catholic Health in Buffalo; and Amber Slichta, RN, MS, vice president of programs, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.

A panel of experts will discuss how the front-line and direct-care workforce shortage crisis in the Adirondacks and around the state is affecting people who need care, the impact on health care institutions, and the consequences of inadequate home care for people who need it and their families. Panelists include Becky Preve, director of the Franklin County Office for the Aging; Becky Leahy, executive director of North Country Home Services; Madaline Toliver, administrator of AVP Long Term Care, Adirondack Health; Marc Walker, regional director of Elderwood of Uihlein at Lake Placid; and Maria Alvarez, executive director of New York StateWide Senior Action Council.

“Mercy Care has worked with collaborating partners within and beyond the Adirondacks to raise awareness about the need for adequate, accessible, affordable, and available home care,” Jerry Hayes, Mercy Care’s board president, said in a press release. “In 2014 Mercy Care, with its collaborating partners Franklin County Office for the Aging and New York StateWide Senior Action Council, launched the Homecare Crisis Campaign in the Adirondacks, which expanded statewide. The impact of an inadequate homecare workforce in the Adirondacks is only getting worse.”

Hayes added, “Through these forums on Nov. 6, we have the opportunity to learn about potential solutions from state, national, and local experts.”

Markiewicz previously served as executive vice president and CEO for home and community-based care at Catholic Health, which included home care and nursing services. Catholic Health is a billion-dollar health system with four hospitals on five campuses serving both Erie and Niagara counties. Overall the health system employs 10,000 people.

Slichta previously served as vice president at the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York, where she developed and implemented several major initiatives to improve the lives of children in poverty. She also facilitated many key partnerships and other projects that furthered the Foundation’s mission.

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation is a grant-making organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of southeast Michigan and western New York. The two areas reflect Ralph C. Wilson Jr.’s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his Buffalo Bills NFL franchise.

The forum will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6 in the Stirling Tomkins Pine Room, Joan Weill Student Center, Paul Smith’s College.

There is a $25 registration fee, which includes lunch. To register for the forum, contact Holly Huber, program associate for Mercy Care for the Adirondacks, at 518-523-5583 or hhuber@adkmercy.org. You may also register for the forum at www.adkmercy.org. Registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Mercy Care for the Adirondacks is a mission sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy to extend mercy to elders in order to enhance the fullness of their lives. Its work is carried out through a Friendship Volunteer Program, a Volunteer Parish Nurse Program, a Caregiver Friend Program and an Education and Advocacy Program.