Congressman Francis Rooney Fights for Right to Home Health-Care
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Francis Rooney, along with ten Florida Congressional colleagues, has sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, that fights for elderly and disabled persons to have the right to receive health-care services in their own homes.”
Congressman Rooney stated, “This letter is about fighting for individuals to receive care in the comfort of their own home, instead of in an impersonal and unfamiliar setting. An individual that is elderly or disabled, and chooses to self-manage their home care, shouldn’t be treated as if they were running a for-profit business. Requiring these individuals to follow federal record keeping rules is absurd. The government should be making it easier, not more difficult, for elderly and disabled persons to stay in their own homes.”
Enacted in 2013, New Home Care Regulations, which overturned 40 years of precedent, accomplished a de facto repeal of the companionship-services exemption, which have protected the elderly and disabled who receive home-care services from the overtime, minimum-wage and recordkeeping requirements that the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 imposed on employers with respect to their employees. As a practical matter, this action has created havoc for the elderly and disabled who rely on home-care services in order to live independently, and for their caregivers.
The Florida Legislature enacted a thorough regulatory system to address the home-care needs of Florida citizens, and to ensure that home-care providers have the opportunity to offer their services either (i) as an employee of an agency, or (ii) independently, as a self-employed caregiver. It accomplished this through the creation of two different types of Florida-licensed entities, namely, a licensed nurse registry, which refers background-screened self-employed home-care providers to families who elect to self-manage their own home care, and a licensed home health agency, which provides home-care services with its own employee caregivers to families that elect not to self-manage their own care.
Without a DOL exemption, Florida nurse registries could be gradually eliminated from the marketplace. Such an outcome would eliminate one of the two licensed home-care delivery models that the Florida Legislature created. Without nurse registries, elderly and disabled individuals in Florida who self-manage their home care will be exposed to a heightened risk of abuse and exploitation, due to the absence of a licensed source for obtaining referrals of independent home-care providers who have been thoroughly background-screened.