Massachusetts is considering establishing a registry for home care workers under contract with the state that would include personal information, raising concerns about accommodating both client safety and worker privacy.
The registry aims to guarantee more consumer protection for seniors using state-contracted home care services.
Massachusetts is not the only state to consider home care registries; California lawmakers passed a similar measure that would have required the State Department of Social Services to provide names and phone numbers of home care aides to labor unions. The bill, after receiving sharp criticism from industry advocates, was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Various versions of home care registry proposals have been bouncing around the Massachusetts state legislature this year. While some of these proposals focus more on training requirements for state-licensed agencies, another considers including personal information of state-contracted home care workers, MassLive reported.
One such version, Senate Bill 364, would establish a registry of all individuals employed by state-contracted home care aide agencies, including personal information of workers, and require annual cost reports created by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs.
State-contracted home care agencies would only hire a home care worker listed in the registry who had completed all required services and trainings.
The registry would require home care workers to provide:
The mandate raises concerns of workers’ rights and due process, Lisa Gurgone, executive director of the Home Care Aide Council, told MassLive.
“The worker loses the ability to control what personally identifying information gets out in the public domain,” Gurgone told MassLive.
One version of the bill included in the fiscal 2018 budget passed the Legislature, but was vetoed by Gov. Charlie Baker, who cited privacy concerns for home care workers. Workers have expressed similar concerns, particularly for victims of domestic violence who may not wish to disclose personal information, MassLive reported.
The bill has become stronger as a result of the legislative process, according to State Sen. James Welch, D-Springfield.
“As it’s gone through the process, there were more protections to protect workers as well,” he said to MassLive. “The purpose behind the registry is to provide safety both for consumers and at the same time provide a safe working environment for those that are home care workers.”
Read the bill here.
Written by Maggie Flynn