Despite numerous grass roots contacts of lawmakers by HCAOA Connecticut Chapter members, a coalition of agencies and organizations led by HCAOA Connecticut and strong opposition from some lawmakers, the General Assembly approved a ban on nonsolicitation agreements in home care in the recently concluded legislative session.
House Bill 5506 prohibits contracts between a homemaker-companion agency or home health agency and a client from including a “no-hire” clause that, should the client directly hire an agency employee, imposes a financial penalty; assesses any charges or fees, including legal fees; or contains any language that can create grounds for a breach of contract assertion or a claim for damages or injunctive relief. It expressly deems these clauses against public policy and void.
The measure’s main proponent, a powerful committee chairman, cited aggressive enforcement of the agreements in the marketplace by a large home care provider, and what she implied were exorbitant fines that harm senior clients. The provision, adopted as part of the budget implementer bill, is effective upon the Governor’s approval on May 9. Thus, there can be no penalty if a client directly hires an agency’s caregiver.
HCAOA Connecticut is informing members about the new law, assessing its impact and gathering information, including from the Department of Consumer Protection such as when enforcement of the new provision will begin, to determine next steps.
Following strong advocacy by its DSS Medicaid committee,
HCAOA Connecticut, helped achieve an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates. New, permanent, and retroactive rate increases will provide much needed relief to Medicaid home care providers.
Additional legislation adopted includes a study of HCA issues (Senate Bill 262), which HCAOA Connecticut supported, and a community ombudsman program for home care issues (Senate Bill 9). The Chapter successfully advocated for the chair of the chapter to be designated as a member of the task force study. Other initiatives, including a state income tax deduction for the costs of home care and measures to directly address the caregiver shortage, advanced but didn’t receive final legislative approval.