Protecting_Caregiver_Privacy_(1)

Caregivers are the lifeblood of the home care industry. The best ones make huge differences in the lives of their patients, and make it easy for the industry as a whole to grow.  

A recent wave of legislation has emerged, aimed at creating caregiver registries. These registries, ostensibly aimed at easing worker organization, instead represent a major privacy risk for caregivers. Alongside other organizations concerned about anti-harassment, we have fought these efforts to inadvertently create a "Craigslist for predators."

Where legislation is pending, we urge HCAOA Members to visit our Advocacy Action Network and help us to educate legislators and executive officials on the issues that affect the future of the home care industry.

Active Laws Defeated Bills

California

On July 1, 2019, AB 2455 will become law. This act will create a public registry of caregiver information

Leading up to that date the California Department of Social Services (DSS) will be required to adopt regulations and/or administrative procedures to implement the bill, including updating the registration process to include a notice that home care aide (HCA) information may be disclosed, that the HCA has a right to opt-out and will include instructions on the opt-out process. DSS will have to build the architecture to manage the opt-outs and the processes for disclosing the names/cell numbers, etc. of HCAs who do not opt out.  

HCAOA will have the opportunity to intervene with DSS during the development of these regulations/procedures while reserving the right to be a party to litigation that challenges the constitutional authority of California to implement such a statute.  

In that regard, please see the legal analysis letter that we commissioned Littler Law firm to send (dated September 7, 2018) to Governor Brown on our behalf as he was considering his decision whether to sign the bill. The letter concluded with Littler's legal opinion that should AB 2455 become law, it would be subject to a possible legal challenge on three separate constitutional grounds: invasion of privacy, denial of equal protection, and violation of the Supremacy Clause. As a result, we are considering our options for a possible legal challenge to the legislation on constitutional grounds. Furthermore, we are planning to develop a Q&A guidance document on AB 2455 that will be available to members and their caregivers as a resource going forward and will update accordingly as DSS structures a regulatory framework from the legislation.

Massachusetts

In 2017, Massachusetts made law its home care registry. The final bill signed by Governor Charlie Baker does include exemptions for home care workers who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or harassment, but those exemptions are by voluntary opt out, which require the caregivers to disclose such history to their employers.

Connecticut


Legislators heard our members speaking loud and clear.  Senate Bill 1051, which would have established a registry of home care workers and  imposed substantial burdens on home care providers to accommodate one class of workers did not pass. Through our combined efforts, we defeated a measure that would have: 

  • Established a state directory of home care agency workers.

  • Required home care agencies to collect personal, identifying information about employees and submit it to the Department of Consumer Protection.

  • Made much of that personal information available for public disclosure and to an ‘employee organization’.

These actions combined would have had several ill effects on the home care industry: the bill would have exposed workers’ personal information to the public and violate their privacy rights; would increase the cost of home care for consumers and have unintended consequences for senior care, elderly persons and the disabled; hinder employment opportunities for caregivers; and hurt small businesses and interfere with the ability of home care company owners to operate their business.  

Thank you to all HCAOA Connecticut members who contacted their legislators expressing their concerns.
 
 


 

Pending Legislation  

Colorado

SB19-238 was passed by the Colorado General Assembly on May 17, 2019. This bill would require home care agencies providing Medicaid services in the state to abide by the following requirements :

Expend 77% of reimbursement on caregiver wages
Report caregivers’ name, home address, phone number, email, and most recent training

The state would then make the reported info publicly available. It would not disclose an employee's
home address, mailing address, telephone number, or e-mail address if the caregiver requests that the department not disclose the information and the employee indicates to the department that the employee is:

 

  • A victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or a crime of violence;

  • The subject of a protection order that has been issued by a court against another individual; or

  • Under extraordinary personal circumstances that require an exception to the disclosure requirement to protect the employee's health, safety, welfare, or privacy interests.

This is a gross violation of caregiver privacy. Please indicate your opposition to this bill by sending a letter to Governor Polis and urge him to veto.

 

 

Please contact info@hcaoa.org if you have any comments or questions