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CMS Issues Bulletin to Help States Implement New Labor Protections for Home Care Workers

July 10, 2014

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued an informational bulletin (pdf) to assist states in implementing new minimum wage and overtime protections for home care workers starting on January 1, 2015.

CMS published the information on the heels of the Department of Labor‘s (DOL) release of “joint employment” guidance in June.

The bulletin outlines several Medicaid reimbursement options for overtime and travel time compensation for workers jointly employed by an individual consumer and a third party, like the state or a fiscal intermediary.

Specifically, the guidance pertains to costs that cannot be attributed to a single consumer’s budget due to the rule change:

  • travel time between consumers, and
  • overtime incurred as a result of cumulative hours worked for multiple consumers.

CMS emphasizes that as states implement the rule, they must ensure “individual access to necessary services identified in the person-centered plan of care” and compliance with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision.

CMS also offers technical assistance to states seeking to make adjustments to appropriately support FLSA compliance in home and community-based long-term services and supports.

Further guidance will be available on July 17, when the DOL holds a webinar explaining the bulletin in more detail.

The CMS guidance supplements DOL fact sheets, assessment tools, and archived webinars on the new rule for individuals, family members, agencies, and states.

For more information on fair pay for home care workers, see the PHI website.

— by Gail MacInnes, PHI National Policy Analyst

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