NEW YORK (March 2, 2021)—Crain’s New York Business, in partnership with Empire BlueCross BlueShield, honored 50 health heroes as part of the 2020 Whole Health Heroes Awards. Among this year’s honorees was Lori Ames, national Secretary-Treasurer of the Home Healthcare Workers of America (HHWA). 

Ames was among a select group of New York region leaders from the health care, essential worker and business sectors, who were recognized for displaying extraordinary leadership to help ensure the safety and wellness of all New Yorkers during the prolonged pandemic, which struck this region first and perhaps deeper than any other part of the nation.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Ames advocated aggressively for the workplace safety and protections of more than 28,000 essential home health care workers within her union. 

Despite the great risk to themselves, home health care workers jobs require them to enter the homes some of New York’s most vulnerable residents—including those who are sick, elderly or have special needs—and provide necessary care and companionship to those who needed it most. In some cases, they are the only visitors to individuals isolated and unable to leave their homes.

In the earliest months of the pandemic, Ames testified twice before Congress, as the House of Representatives Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sought to examine what was taking place on New York’s front lines and how essential workers were managing.  

She’s also was a vocal force with top New York State medical regulators in Albany to aid industry leaders in confronting bureaucratic red tape and archaic Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rules that have been deeply complicated by the pandemic.

“The pandemic put a significant strain on our health care system, and it was urgent that we address the issues facing some 28,000 of our home health care workers, in relation to workplace safety, onerous state regulations in place and the critical need for scarce PPE,” said Ames. 

“It was our job at the Home Healthcare Workers of America to be the voice for the tens of thousands of highly dedicated professionals we advocate for who were caring for more than 100,000 of New York City’s most vulnerable citizens. I am proud that the aggressive member advocacy of our union was able to bring about favorable impacts in so many areas, and for Crain’s and BlueCross BlueShield’s recognition of those results.”

Other recipients of the 2020 Whole Health Heroes Distinction included Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling, Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud, FDNY EMS President Oren Barzilay and leading physicians at Mount Sinai, New York Presbyterian and other leading medical facilities, whose incredible acts of heroism helped countless lives during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Click here to view Ames’ comments on helping frontline workers throughout the pandemic.