Marking a significant victory for the HCAOA Connecticut Chapter and the home care industry, in the legislative session that ended last week, lawmakers unanimously passed a bill to reverse the policy guidance issued by the Department of Consumer Protection in January that banned use of the word “care” by home care agencies. In response to the guidance that directly harmed the industry, the Chapter and its members engaged in a strong lobbying effort to reverse it.
The guidance had caused significant concern and confusion for agencies, caregivers, consumers and lawmakers. Indeed, the Department had recently begun enforcing the ban against HCAs, requiring them to remove the word “care” from websites and other advertising.
On June 2, the state Senate gave final legislative approval to House Bill 5781, which allows HCAs to use the word “care” in their business names and advertising and advertise having employees trained to provide services to individuals experiencing memory difficulties as long as the agency prominently advertises that it solely provides nonmedical care, and doesn’t use any words, such as those related to medical or health care licensure or services, to describe services beyond the scope of those a HCA is authorized to provide. Also, HCAs must give consumers written notice that the agency provides nonmedical care and obtain the consumer’s signature on the notice before providing services. The Governor is expected to sign Public Act 23-48 shortly.
Chapter leaders and many members testified in support of the legislation, contacted the Governor and met with lawmakers and other officials, engaged in grass roots support, and advocated for the change. “It was a significant effort by the Chapter but our strategy and the work of members paid off,” said Marlene Chickerella, Chapter Chair and owner of B&M Homemaking Services in West Haven. “We are very grateful to lawmakers for changing the policy and appreciate all the support and assistance of our member-home care agency owners. They stepped up and clearly made a difference.”
Additionally, House Bill 5781, which originally arose out of the Homemaker-Companion Task Force recommendations: