Two senators have started a push to suspend the Department of Labor’s Companionship Rule—a rule which home care industry advocates say will raise the costs associated with caring for the aging population in their homes.
The Companionship Rule, slated to take effect in January 2015, changing a long-standing exemption for personal care services; its opponents saying it will have adverse effects on non-medical in-home caregivers and those for whom they provide care.
Under the new rule, “companionship services” has been redefined to be limited to “fellowship,” “protection” and limited direct personal care. Personal care-related services are limited to no more than 20% of the hours worked.
“At a time when approximately 76 million baby boomers are reaching retirement, the federal government has a compelling interest in containing the cost of long term services and supports and expanding the low-cost care options available to this aging demographic,” Senators Mike Johanns (R-NE) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI) wrote in a letter to fellow lawmakers this week. “We are deeply troubled that this rule runs contradictory to those goals. Therefore, we urge you to suspend the rule and work with state agencies and other affected programs to prevent the cost of long term services and supports from soaring.”
The National Association for Home Care and Hospice has spoken publicly against the rule, including a lawsuit filed to overturn the law.
Now, the lawmakers are circulating the letters in hopes to gain more support for suspending the rule.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker