After removing a ban on health care terms in home care agency business names and advertising, the legislature’s General Law Committee approved House Bill 6100 yesterday. The bill requires, among other things, local and national criminal background checks of caregivers, including a search of a multistate criminal record locator by a consumer reporting agency or accredited background screening company. The Department of Consumer Protection agreed to remove the names and advertising provisions after HCAOA Connecticut and many individual HCA owners vigorously opposed them. The bill goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration. HCAOA Connecticut members can discuss this bill and other priorities affecting home care in meetings with their lawmakers at Home Care Days at the Capitol next month.
The Department of Consumer Protection has agreed to withdraw from House Bill 6100 its proposed ban on home care agencies using any terms in advertising that describe services related to health care that require a license, such as memory support or Alzheimer’s and dementia care. HCAOA Connecticut and many individual HCAs vigorously opposed the ban, arguing in testimony and to lawmakers and department officials that agencies should be allowed to communicate accurate information to prospective clients and families that they offer various services, including non-medical memory support that ensures a safe and healthy environment in the elderly person’s home. The Department continues to assert that existing law provides authority to ban such advertising. The ban on use of such terms in business names of HCAs applying for a new registration has not been withdrawn. HCAOA Connecticut members can discuss this bill and other priorities affecting home care in appointments with their lawmakers at its Lobby Day next month.
Governor Ned Lamont announced that Connecticut, in order to quickly administer the COVID-19 vaccine to as many people as possible, will pivot to an age-based approach to expand eligibility for the vaccine. Other previously considered scenarios, he explained, proved overly complex and confusing, would potentially exacerbate inequities in vaccine distribution, and slow down the process of providing it to Connecticut residents.
Senate Bill 879 authorizes certain, limited nonsolicitation agreements in home care. Senator Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury), co-chairman of the committee and recipient of an outstanding leadership award from HCAOA Connecticut in 2020, advocated for the bill and helped get it introduced. Several HCAOA Connecticut members, including Chaim Gewirtzman and MD Rahman, have worked hard to get the bill introduced.
House Bill 6100 is a bill before the Connecticut General Assembly would harm home care agencies. The HCAOA Connecticut State Chapter urges all home care agencies to take action today on House Bill 6100, an act concerning department of consumer protection licensing and enforcement.
House Bill 6100, filed last week on behalf of the Department of Consumer Protection, would expand background checks of prospective caregivers and ban medical terms in home care agency business names and advertising. As it did last year concerning a similar bill, HCAOA Connecticut is opposed to substituting state and national criminal background checks, which require fingerprinting by state police and the FBI, for comprehensive background checks. This would involve a costly, detailed and time-consuming process, delaying placement of caregivers with clients, putting elderly consumers at risk and harming HCAs. The bill also prohibits employment of persons convicted of one of several crimes. As an alternative, HCAOA Connecticut is proposing comprehensive background checks be conducted by a pre-employment background screening services company that include a search of an online federal database, and to allow HCAs to accurately describe nonmedical, supportive services that ensure a safe and healthy environment for a person who may have memory challenges. A public hearing on the bill before the General Law Committee will be held next week. HCAOA Connecticut is urging members to submit testimony and contact their legislators about the bill.
Connecticut’s vaccine coordinator has confirmed that homemakers, companions and personal care assistants are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in Phase 1A distribution. To begin the process, one representative from each agency should complete the state survey to enroll in the vaccine program at https://dphsubmissions.ct.gov/VAMSEnrollment.
Last week, Sami Asaad, Esq., Chair, Home Healthcare Practice Group with FordHarrison, provided an update to the HCAOA Connecticut Chapter about changes to the state’s FMLA program beginning in 2021 and what agencies should be doing now to prepare.
The Connecticut Department of Social Services announced recently that it is increasing rates by 2.3% for Medicaid waiver service providers. The increase, while not as much as HCAOA Connecticut sought, is nonetheless important to Medicaid home care providers. HCAOA Connecticut advocated vigorously for an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for providers by forming a coalition of organizations supporting an increase, drafting a letter to the Governor in support and lobbying state officials.
Connecticut: Chapter Continues Advocacy for Medicaid Rate Increase
The HCAOA Connecticut State Chapter continues to advocate for an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for home care providers. In a major disappointment, the Department of Social Services recently posted on its website a modest increase in reimbursement and then withdrew it, purportedly to await the results of its provider rate cost survey and study. Joe Markley of Companions & Homemakers has led the advocacy efforts of the Chapter’s DSS Medicaid committee, forming a coalition of organizations supporting an increase, drafting a letter to the Governor in support and lobbying state officials.