Last Thursday, the HCAOA Connecticut Chapter hosted state Department of Consumer Protection officials for an informational session with members to discuss two new state laws regulating the home care industry.
Beginning October 1, 2023, Public Act 23-48 expressly allows homemaker-companion agencies to use the word “care” in their business names and advertising and advertise having employees trained to provide services to people with memory difficulties, if certain requirements are met. Additionally, Public Act 23-99 expands disclosure requirements for HCAs, such as HCAs providing the name of the caregiver in writing to the client before she enters the client’s home and when an agency changes service rates and ceases operations.
The Department plans to scrutinize the use of the word ‘care’ in advertising very closely, including in social media posts online, and strictly enforce the new law.
DCP Director of Investigations Pamela Brown cited several statistics about the growing industry, including 50 new agencies registered in the last year, bringing the total to 950. She indicated investigators mostly review employee and client files and advised owners and staff to be cooperative and transparent with officials. Investigators are not trying to catch violators, she explained, but rather are seeking to educate and foster compliance with the law. Sixty-four complaints were filed against HCAs in the last year, and most were related to overbilling; 53 complaints remain open for two investigators in the field. Supervising Special Investigator Anita Battle and Legal Program Director Ryan Burns also presented and answered questions from attendees.
HCAOA’s advisory committee on a transition plan for HCA oversight also met prior to the luncheon meeting to develop goals and objectives, and recommendations for consideration by the Office of Policy and Management. OPM is developing a plan and proposed timeline to transfer HCA registration and oversight responsibilities from DCP to the Department of Public Health.