Non-Medical Home Care, My Foot!

Note from May 22, 2012:  I wish I could say something had changed from the original post, a year and a half ago.  Unfortunately, for the person who needs non-medical home care — for their health! — the situation is probably only going to get worse.


In a society where medical care for millions is inadequate, partially because medical insurance is inadequate – and the “health care reform” law recently passed ain’t gonna solve that problem – I have another complaint.

That complaint is that what is referred to as non-medical home care by the medical community and insurance companies – and Medicare – is absolutely vital to the health and well-being of millions of seniors, but …  Medical insurance, including Medicare, does not pay a dime to seniors who need help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)  and Instrumental ADLs.

For millions of seniors – and others – who need support with bathing, dressing, eating, cooking or many other ADLs / IADLs, unless they fall below the Medicaid line, they get no help at all from medical insurance or the government.

What has me worked up (again) about this today?  I just got back from meeting with a woman who is on dialysis and wheel chair bound.  One leg has been lost to surgery, already.  She cannot live at home without “non-medical” home care, supporting her.

The Catch 22 is that she cannot afford what a good home care agency needs to charge to cover payroll and administrative expenses, including liability insurance, background checks, dishonesty bonds, and so forth.

This woman has no choice but to hire “privately”, because she can find someone who will work for what she can afford to pay.  But that means the woman has no protection for liability, workers compensation (her home owner’s insurance will not cover a domestic worker), background checks, bonding, unemployment insurance if she has to fire the private worker, Social Security payments, and so on.

But, I guarantee you, when something bad happens, and the worker hurts her back or gets fired or decides that family heirloom is too good not to take – remember, no background check – this poor woman is going to be hurting even worse than she is now.

I feel sorry for the senior and I wish we, at Support For Home, could do something to help, but the medical insurance people and the medical community and government have told her, “You are on your own.  That’s ‘non-medical.'”  Yeah, right.

Best wishes, Bert


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