DOL, Advocates Discuss Delayed Implementation of Home Health Care Worker Overtime Rule
On Monday, officials from the Department of Labor (DOL) attended a meeting with patient advocacy organizations, including the National Council, to discuss the implementation of the home health care worker overtime rule. This rule, which was issued back in 2014, extends minimum wage and overtime protections to almost 2 million home health care workers. This rule is different than the overtime proposed rules the Department issued in July that would affect the entire American workforce.
The final home health rule was initially issued in 2014 but was met with a law suit from home care trade associations who protested definitions in the rule. After legal battles ended, the Department worked to being implementation. While the home health care rule officially took effect on October 13, the DOL held off enforcement for 30 days. With the enforcement date just two weeks away, the Department is continuing work with states to ensure the rule is implemented properly and thoughtfully for home health care works across the country.
Here are some highlights of the conversation.
The interagency working group remains active. For the past several months, DOL has been working with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to ensure the new home health rule is being implemented properly in home care facilities and health organizations across the country. DOL officials were amenable to specific requests from advocates including working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to create guidance for providers on implementing the overtime provisions for home care workers within their organizations.
Engagement with states will continue throughout implementation. During the beginning stages of rulemaking, DOL engaged with states to understand their progress and capacity to properly implement the new home health care rule. Now that the enforcement date is approaching, DOL plans to again reach out and work with states to understand their needs and provide supports where necessary.
Enforcement of the rule will be proactive, not just reactionary. Officials made clear that the Department will take the initiative to enforce the rule as opposed to solely relying on complaints from individuals. While complaints will still be accepted and investigated, the Department is preparing to have a more assertive role in ensuring the full and fair implementation of the home health rule throughout the country.