The Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) sent a notice on Thursday, June 24 to home health, home service agencies, and home nursing agencies that the emergency amendments to 77 Ill. Adm. Code 245 that suspended requirements that a registered nurse or home services supervisor conduct in-person supervisory visits to a patient’s or client’s residence expired on June 19, 2021.
HCAOA’s state chapters continue to monitor states’ legislative and regulatory actions. Here’s a quick listing of the most recent home care happenings around the country.
HCAOA State Chapters Taking Action, Offering Suggestions to State Medicaid Directors on FMAP for HCBS
Several of HCAOA’s State Chapters took action this week, sending letters to their State Medicaid Directors to offer suggestions about how to use the available 10% FMAP increase for Medicaid home and community-based services. CMS recently provided guidance to states about how they can use the federal funds to supplement, not supplant, existing state funds for Medicaid effective April 1, 2021. In the letter, HCAOA Chapters state the industry’s biggest concern and primary suggestion is use the funds to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for personal care services and private duty nursing so agencies can adequately recruit and retain essential workers to provide critical care at home to patients and clients
The letter offers several other suggestions to enhance, expand, or strengthen Medicaid HCBS, including hazard pay, overtime pay, and shift differential pay for home care workers, new or additional Medicaid HCBS services especially during the pandemic, and support for family caregivers. To date, the Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, Arizona, South Carolina and Connecticut Chapters have sent letters, with others to follow.
You can read one of the full letters here.
Governor J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 158 (HB 158), which amends the Employee Sick Leave Act (ESLA) to cover leave for a family member’s “personal care.” The ESLA—Illinois’ statewide “kin care” law—has been in effect since January 1, 2017, and generally requires employers to permit employees to use their “personal sick leave benefits” to care for the employee’s family member. Employers may limit the amount of annual kin care leave to the amount of personal sick leave that would be earned or accrued during six months at the employee’s then-current rate of entitlement. In other words, for employees accruing 40 hours of personal sick leave benefits per year, the ESLA entitles employees to use 20 of those 40 hours for care of a family member. read more
Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill (SB1480) that—effective immediately—amends the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) to, among other things, impose new requirements on employers that perform criminal history checks on their employees. For employers that currently have a multistate-compliant background check system in place, the new Illinois requirements do not pose significant additional compliance obligations, for two reasons.
The Small Business Advocacy Council and Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz and Senator Ram Villivalam have worked to file H.B 0801 & S.B 2490 that will provide a tax incentive to businesses that retrain and hire new employees. This legislation will help both Illinois workers and employers get back to work after the global slowdown. Small businesses in the technology, healthcare, and manufacturing spaces, as well as other small businesses may be in the position to train and hire unemployed individuals. This proposed tax incentive will help small businesses transition potential employees into new fields. read more
Over the past several weeks, HCAOA has worked with state chapters to drive recognition for the direct care workers who have kept the country's most vulnerable populations safe at home throughout the pandemic. Georgia, Michigan, California and Illinois all have passed resolutions to honor these important caregivers.
The Illinois Department of Public Health launched the Vaccine Appointment Call Center to assist people who do not have access to or who have difficulty navigating online services in making appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. As Illinois begins to receive significantly more vaccine from the federal government and appointments become more widely available, this call center will be critical in bridging the digital divide and ensuring the vaccine reaches all communities. read more
All members in Illinois are asked to complete a brief survey ASAP. HCAOA continues to look at the availability and access to PPE equipment in Illinois. Every state has different resources available to them and we hope to provide quality resources and special PPE pricing for HCAOA members. Please take a few minutes to help us understand your particular PPE supply chain and pricing. Click here to complete the survey.
The Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike provided a detailed breakdown last week of how Illinois’ vaccine distribution will work. Illinois expects to receive 109,000 doses the week following the FDA’s Dec. 10 meeting, if approved. A portion, 23,000 doses, have been specifically earmarked for Chicago as a major population center in the state.