Effective May 24, 2021, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) revised its COVID-19 Emergency Rules. The change comes as more Michiganders have received vaccines and COVID-19 cases have decreased. Most significantly, the newly amended rules completely eliminate the requirement that employers must create a policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be done completely remotely, meaning employees can be mandated to return to their physical workplace. Read more
ALABAMA: Legalizes Medical Marijuana While Allowing Employers Discretion as to Participating Workers
On May 17, 2021, Governor Kay Ivey signed Alabama’s new medical marijuana law, known as the Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall Compassion Act, making Alabama the 37th state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. The law identifies specific qualifying medical conditions, including but not limited to autism spectrum disorder (ASD); cancer-related cachexia, nausea or vomiting, weight loss, or chronic pain; Crohn’s disease; depression; epilepsy or a condition causing seizures; and HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss. While the law grants individuals with these health conditions access to medical marijuana, it provides almost no employment protections for doing so, and imposes no new obligations on employers. read more
Should your agency consider offering more training opportunities for your caregivers and staff? More and more workers are finding the value in continuing education and other types of nontraditional training. According to the Survey of Education Attainment, a new national survey from NORC at the University of Chicago with funding from the ECMC Foundation, "more than 70 percent of the American workforce report completing at least one nontraditional, postsecondary training program—such as a certification, continuing education, or an apprenticeship."
Last Thursday, Senate Republicans unveiled a $928 billion infrastructure counteroffer to President Biden’s original $1.9 trillion American Jobs Plan. The counteroffer is a substantial increase compared to the GOP’s previous five-year, $568 billion proposal, but still far less comprehensive than what the White House has called for, particularly when it comes to “soft infrastructure” like home- and community-based services. It seems unlikely that HCBS funding will be included in the initial infrastructure package, however, community-based services have historically been a bipartisan issue - so the funds could be included in a future package later this year.
HCAOA's VA Advisory Committee is working to help members address issues with the VA and recently put out a call for members to voice concerns. As a follow up, we have scheduled meetings with TriWest and Optum, as well as follow up meeting with VA. HCAOA members are invited to join representatives from TriWest and Optum for webinars to cover all topics pertaining to home care agencies serving veterans.
While many Americans relaxed for the long Memorial Day weekend, HCAOA took the opportunity to speak with members about how THEY honor their clients who are veterans. Always Best Care Senior Services of Glenview and the North Shore spoke with two clients who served their country and shared their stories: U.S. Army Veteran, Samuel Thomas and U.S. Navy Veteran, George Blinick.
HCAOA has joined a coalition of nearly 100 senior groups to advocate for the passage of HR 3321 and S1670, which calls for family caregivers to receive up to $5,000 in tax credits for out-of-pocket expenses related to caring for a loved one at home. Family caregivers in the U.S. provide billions of dollars of unpaid care. With such a financial toll on families, the Credit for Caring Act aims to help.
Many home care agencies are finding new challenges as COVID restrictions ease across the U.S. More and more clients are requesting vaccinated caregivers only, so agencies are pondering mandatory COVID-19 vaccine programs and incentives for those who are vaccinated. Is mandating the vaccine for employees legal? The simple answer is: yes
Caregiver Recruitment & Retention Got You Down? 10,596 Applications Were Sent to HCAOA Member Agencies Using CareerPlug
Are you taking advantage of this member benefit? HCAOA has partnered with CareerPlug to help our members with hiring. In 2021 so far, 10,596 job applications were received by HCAOA member agencies via the CareerPlug portal. We know hiring is a major issue right now - how many applications have you potentially missed out on by now utilizing CareerPlug? HCAOA members can create a basic account for free and keep an evergreen job posting online, or upgrade their account for even more benefits.
HCAOA Partnering with ATI Advisory to Offer Members an ACTION PLAN for Exploring Medicare Advantage as a New Revenue Source
In the several years since CMS permitted Medicare Advantage plans to offer home care as a supplemental benefit, HCAOA has been encouraging members to keep this on their radar as a potential new source for revenue. It’s been a slow start, but today 296 Medicare Advantage plans cover home care - and that number is growing. The time is NOW for home care agencies to develop an action plan to get involved with these networks and open up a whole new revenue stream.