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Governor Rendell Signs Executive Orders to Improve Agriculture and Healthcare

  • Synopsis: Published: 2010-09-15 - Governor Edward G. Rendell signs orders that will enhance home healthcare services for seniors and people with disabilities - Pennsylvania Office of the Governor.

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Governor Edward G. Rendell yesterday signed executive orders that will ensure more of Pennsylvania's agricultural operations benefit from the commonwealth's purchasing power and enhance home healthcare services for seniors and people with disabilities.

Promoting Pennsylvania Agriculture

Under Executive Order 2010-03, state agencies are required to purchase agricultural products from Pennsylvania producers when available at competitive prices and in accordance with the law. The order gives particular preference to products and companies that are part of the PA Preferred branding program.

"The commonwealth has tremendous purchasing power and we can put that power to work helping our farmers and our food processors," said Governor Rendell. "And for those agencies that often purchase fresh agricultural products, when those products are available at a competitive price, they'd be getting a product that's typically fresher than one purchased outside of the state."

The order requires agencies to identify in-state sources by contacting the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for a listing of PA Preferred products and licensees; purchase Pennsylvania-produced agricultural products when available at competitive prices; and, for state agencies that purchase local products, report the types, quantities and costs of each item purchased to the Department of Agriculture.

PA Preferred - recognized by a blue keystone and gold check-mark - is a branding initiative designed to help consumers easily locate locally-sourced products. There are more than 2,000 members enrolled in the program, including farmers markets, restaurants, food processors, grocery chains, plant nurseries, fiber mills, wood products manufacturers, Christmas tree farms, craft breweries and wineries.

Improving Long Term Healthcare

Currently, Pennsylvania faces an acute shortage of direct caregivers, a shortage estimated at about 10,000 workers. As a result, consumers who directly hire their own caregivers are not always able to dependably recruit and retain workers who are right for them. Attendants in Pennsylvania are paid an average of $9.10 an hour, and they usually receive no health insurance, sick days, vacation or retirement through their jobs. As a result, turnover rates can be as high as 100 percent and there is no backup system to help people when their caregiver calls off or quits.

Executive Order 2010-04 helps address the long-term care needs of seniors and people with disabilities who prefer to use the consumer-employer home care model, and the direct care workers who assist them with independent living. The consumer-employer home care model allows individuals to hire, manage, schedule, train and terminate the home care provider of their choice.

"Pennsylvanian's deserve the right to choose the way they receive home care and we have a responsibility to ensure access to high-quality services enabling them to live independently for as long as they wish," Governor Rendell said. "This executive order protects the rights and well-being of consumers by implementing policies to ensure an available, high quality workforce."

The order creates the Consumer Workforce Council comprised of seniors and people with disabilities who employ their own attendants to serve as the policy voice to make recommendations to expand the consumer-directed model of home care - especially in regards to the number of available, qualified and reliable home care attendants. It also guarantees the rights of employees to elect a union representative should they so choose. The executive order enables caregivers and consumers to work together to tackle the chronic workforce issues such as turnover, training and benefits in order to help stabilize the consumer-employer home care workforce.

Both orders take effect immediately.

Related Information:

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  2. Pennsylvania Receives Grant for Home Visiting Programs
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