I do not usually spend time on political debates and what is going on in legislatures, but right now, in California, there is a drive to change non-medical home care in a way that will, frankly, gravely harm many elders.
At Support For Home, we have pushed for State licensing of non-medical home care for a number of years. This initiative failed in the legislature several years ago and, unfortunately, the California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH) was too slow to grab the bull by the horns and push the issue hard again over the last year. As a result of CAHSAH’s inactivity, unfortunately, other movers and shakers pushed their own agenda, which are not consistent, in our view, with improving elder care and home care in California.
A friend who owns a good home care company in Southern California published a newsletter article on these issues that I am delighted to “reprint,” here. She articulates the issues with passion and intelligence. So, Laurie, thank you, and we will keep fighting the good fight to get good regulation in place for home care in this state.
Non-Medical Home Care Remains Under Attack in California
threaten ability of seniors and the disabled to remain in their own homes
Two state bills under consideration by the California State Legislature would impose new regulations on the non-medical services industry, threatening the ability of small businesses to provide affordable home care services.
Senate Bill 411, Homecare Licensure and Certification, is now heading to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Due to be heard mid-August, it is attempting to certify non-medical, home care aides in a statewide database. It potentially violates their rights to confidentiality, a standard which employers must strictly uphold or risk legal liability for violations.
Additionally, SB 411 proposes the regulation of non-medical agencies which would be housed under the medically-oriented Department of Public Health. Accreditation would simultaneously be required in addition to licensure, making it impossible for small businesses to afford. If passed by the Committee, it would take effect in 2012.
Assembly Bill 889, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, would eliminate the State’s Companionship Exemption if passed. This is the long-held labor code governing non-medical home care agencies which provide no medical services and are custodial in nature. The loss of this exemption would be disastrous to small businesses currently providing cost-effective services and solutions on behalf of seniors and disabled persons wishing to remain in their own homes. If enacted, this bill is expected to take effect in 2012.
“It is likely that the authors of both bills know very little about the home care industry and specifically the non-medical services community,” said Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and CEO of At Your Home Familycare. “They are attempting to control and impose unnecessary layers of regulations for a specific segment of home care, which is already vetted and self-regulated either by certification through the California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH), or a variety of Accreditation programs. We advise consumers to be certain they seek home care from an accredited agency that conducts background checks and supervises their employees,” noted Edwards-Tate. “We strongly recommend against accessing any care which is not vetted.”
“One would also need to question: who is really behind these bills, and what are their motives? Risking the lives of vulnerable seniors and disabled persons makes no sense. Any legislators who are in support of these bills need to be voted out of office for being so completely irresponsible to their constituents in making recommendations they obviously know little about,” stated Edwards-Tate.
“SB 411 and AB 889 must be opposed and killed in Appropriations mid-August,” said Edwards-Tate. “It must be pointed out that they do not appear to address the unmentioned carve outs for other non-medical providers left out of the bills. Examples include child care, some after school programs, respite care for persons with disabilities, and the like which do not seem to exist nor mentioned.
“Moreover, domestic referral agencies would also apparently be exempt, creating the need for a vulnerable senior or disabled person to become the employer of record, and without supervision or oversight while receiving non-medical services. This may raise the potential for fraud and abuse. And, of course, the silent, underground economy of undocumented workers also increase the potential for fraud and abuse, in addition to their lack of contribution to our state’s economy and the potential for I-9 and other labor-related violations,” explained Edwards-Tate.
“With this clear attack on the fastest growing segment of the home care continuum, non-medical home care, sometimes referred to as private duty, one would question who would stand to gain from the demise of our small businesses? What are the benefits if caregivers lose their jobs, and seniors and disabled are placed in institutional care due to losing their in-home care?” asked Edwards-Tate.
“Finally, SB 411 and AB 899, from a private industry standpoint, are contrary and in conflict with free enterprise, free competition, and the American Way!” declared Edwards-Tate.
At Support For Home, we want the home care industry to improve. We want licensing. What we do not want is regulation that is driven by shady interests or ignorance. Again, thanks Laurie.
Best wishes, Bert