On August 30, the U.S. Department of Labor introduced a proposed rule to raise the minimum salary required for employees to be exempt from overtime (any hours over 40 hours per week) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Currently set at $35,568 per year ($684 per week), the proposed rule aims to increase this threshold to $55,000 per year ($1,059 per week), affecting over 3.5 million salaried employees who may no longer qualify for overtime exemption if implemented. The rule also raises the salary threshold for Highly Compensated Employees to $143,988 per year. Employers are advised to prepare for potential changes and assess employee eligibility for exemption accordingly.
CMS has addressed operational issues causing people to lose their Medicaid coverage during the federal unwinding period. CMS identified problems with how certain states auto-renew enrollees at the family level rather than the individual level, potentially leading to the improper disenrollment of eligible individuals when family members don't qualify for coverage. In response, CMS has mandated that affected states pause procedural terminations for those improperly disenrolled, reinstate their coverage, switch to individual-level auto-renewals, and implement strategies to mitigate further issues, such as extending Medicaid eligibility for affected families up to a year after their scheduled renewal period. CMS aims to rectify flaws in a renewal process that has resulted in millions of individuals losing Medicaid coverage because of the end of COVID-19 eligibility requirements.
The California Health and Human Services Agency (CalHHS) Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Committee has released two fact sheets on dementia and mental health resources, available on the Committee's website. The "Provider Guidance" fact sheet provides information on accessing and providing services for individuals with co-occurring Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia and mental health concerns through Medi-Cal, Medicare, and private insurance. The "Consumer Guidance" fact sheet addresses behavioral changes associated with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia and offers guidance on seeking assistance for issues stemming from these behavioral changes. Licensees are encouraged to share these fact sheets with facility staff, individuals in their care, and their representatives.
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 of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a proposed rule that would update, clarify, and strengthen the statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance or are conducted by a Federal agency.
Representative Jesse Petrea has forwarded an update that he received earlier today concerning the approaching deadline of September 15th for all Medicaid providers to revalidate their credentials. This revalidation process must be completed to assure that providers continue to receive their Medicaid reimbursements for services rendered to Medicaid members.
Join Vicki Hoak, HCAOA’s CEO, on Thursday, September 21, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. ET for a webinar discussing trends in home care mergers and acquisitions. She will be joined by colleagues from Polsinelli and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice.
During this webinar, attendees will hear from active buyers who will share their experiences in home care agency acquisition transactions and discuss their criteria when targeting agencies for acquisition. The webinar will also cover the mechanics of a home-based care transaction, covering various transaction types and options, the legal framework of a deal, regulatory considerations, pitfalls in the diligence process, and essential steps agency owners should take to prepare their agency for sale.
The temporary exemption for I-9 verification during the COVID-19 pandemic implemented by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) expired on March 20, 2020, and all employees who had been remotely verified during that period must complete a physical inspection by August 30, 2023. Certain employers may now have an alternate virtual option for complying with the requirements.
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In a bid to modernize and improve services, home care providers are increasingly considering collaboration with their competitors and adopting data-driven approaches. The potential benefits of collaborating with neighboring competitors include sharing knowledge, caregivers, and referral sources. This collaborative approach not only addresses caregiver shortages but also ensures timely and efficient care delivery, ultimately benefiting clients. Furthermore, industry leaders are recognizing the significance of data tracking and sharing. Collaboration in data sharing between agencies, payers, health systems, and other providers can enhance patient satisfaction and promote a seamless continuum of care.
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE): Understanding the Growing Demand for Long-Term Services and Support
The aging U.S. population is expected to increase the demand for long-term services and supports (LTSS), much of which is currently provided by informal caregivers. However, for those requiring paid LTSS, most Americans rely on personal funds and then turn to Medicaid once their resources are depleted. This reliance on Medicaid for individuals with limited income and assets could increase federal and state spending on LTSS. To address this concern, a project was initiated to analyze the current cost of long-term care, national expenditures on LTSS, and future predictions regarding the availability of informal caregivers. The project explores how demographic changes will impact the supply of informal caregivers for older Americans. One of the project's primary goals is to provide updated estimates of national LTSS expenditures and projections that illustrate how changing demographics may affect the demand for LTSS, the availability of future caregivers, and Medicaid spending.
HCAOA has received member inquiries regarding CMS’ GUIDE initiative to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia. Home care organizations currently providing care to people with dementia have expressed an interest in participating in the CMS GUIDE Model, which will offer a standard approach to care, including 24/7 access to a support line, as well as caregiver training, education, and support services. This standard approach will allow people living with dementia to remain safely in their homes for longer by preventing or delaying nursing home placement and improving the quality of life for both people living with dementia and their unpaid caregivers.
Krystal Wilkinson, HCAOA Arizona Chapter Chair and President of Adultcare Assistance (second from right), and Stephanie Roberts, Policy Leader with Team Services Group (left), recently met with two Arizona state representatives, Rep. Patty Contreras (D-12) and Rep. Judy Schwiebert (D-2), to discuss home-based care issues, including Medicaid reimbursement rates and how to ensure safety in home care in Arizona.
Addressing Caregiver Shortage: New Online Certification Program Aims to Train 10,000 Home Care Aides in Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and state health officials are launching a free online certification program aimed at certifying 10,000 new home care aides to address the increasing demand for home-based care workers in Wisconsin. The program offers a $500 bonus to certified individuals who remain employed for six months. Funding from the one-time bonus comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. With the impending shortage of caregivers in the state, the program comes at a critical time, and it provides free online training that covers 14 competency areas. Successful completion of the course leads to entry into an online registry, where employers can match caregivers with available positions. The program could potentially serve as a model for other states aiming to address similar caregiver shortages.
If you are a provider under the VA Community Care Network, you see first-hand how important home care is to our veterans and their families. That’s why HCAOA needs your help. Today, if a veteran’s home care costs reach 65% of the cost the Veterans’ Administration would pay for providing care in a nursing home, funding stops, and the veteran and their family would have to pay for the care.