NAHC’s Private Duty Advisory Council monthly meeting this week, featuring an update on NAHC’s advocacy efforts as well as potential policies being monitored from Co-chair Brittnei Salerno of La Jolla Nurses Homecare and Executive Director of Private Duty at NAHC Kristen Wheeler. Legislation being watched by the NAHC Advocacy Team includes:
NAHC President William A. Dombi reminded the group that these bills will need to be reintroduced next year for the new Congress. We are very unlikely to see any movement on this legislation during the lame duck session of the current Congress.
Council Co-Chair Brittnei Salerno of La Jolla Nurses Homecare and Private Duty Executive Director Kristen Wheeler shared updates on these items, as well as a regulatory update that may potentially affect providers in the Southeast United States. The US Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new initiative to better enforce violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The campaign aims to improve compliance in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
“The US DOL is determined to ensure these workers are not denied any of their hard-earned wages. Our current initiative combines compliance assistance and enforcement to decrease violations by employers in the care industries,” said DOL’s Wage & Hour Division Regional Administrator Juan Coria. The initiative will focus on resources to educate care workers in the industry along with targeting the misclassification of workers as independent contractors. A public webinar hosted by the DOL on Thursday, November 17, 2022, will review the protections for care workers so that employers and workers alike will understand their rights and responsibilities currently protected by the FLSA. The states being targeted are a result of division investigators identifying violations in nearly 89 percent of investigations completed in home and nursing care completed between 2020 and 2022.
During the state share portion of the meeting, the Council discussed the recently passed $15 minimum wage for Medicaid direct service providers in Florida. Council member Maxine Hochhauser of LHC Group told the group that the Medicaid fee schedule increase simply does not cover the cost of providing services. Expectations are that many Medicaid recipients will no longer have access to care unless the reimbursement rates are increased. The Home Care Association of Florida has joined the Florida Assisted Living Association and the Florida Ambulance Association in challenging the state’s Agency for Healthcare Administration on this requirement, maintaining that the agency did not use a proper rule-making process to define “direct care” workers who would be affected by the wage change. Further information will be shared as it becomes available.
Council members that sit on various workgroups of the Home Care Action Alliance updated the group on the efforts of those groups. Meetings are in their final stages and Project Manager Pat Kelleher is compiling recommendations of the groups. An early December release of these recommendations and action items is on track.
NAHC’s Private Duty Summit is expected to come to fruition in 2023 as a “conference within a conference” at the Annual Conference & Expo in October. The summit will feature robust educational sessions and will be individually branded to ensure attendees understand the separation. However, attendees will also be allowed access to the keynote general sessions as well as the lively trade show hall.
Bill Dombi rounded out the meeting with an update on what’s happening on Capitol Hill with home care legislation.
Interested in being a part of the Private Duty Advisory Council in 2023? Let us know!