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Kansas Dept. Requests Funding for Home Care Wage Rule Compliance

October 23, 2015

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) has requested $6.5 million in funding to cover the costs of complying with the recently implemented federal rule change extending basic wage protections to home care workers.

Officials from KDADS confirmed that they have asked the administration of Gov. Sam Brownback (R) for the additional funding, Heartland Health Monitor reporter Dave Ranney wrote in an October 16 article.

The rule change was implemented on October 13 following nearly a year of legal battles between the federal government and the home care industry, which opposes the extension of minimum-wage and overtime protections to home care workers.

As recently as last year, KDADS secretary Kari Bruffett publicly warned that the rule change would force “more consumers…into institutions,” and would lead to home care providers reducing or eliminating sleep-cycle support for up to 1,400 consumers, Ranney reported.

Kansas, along with eight other states, filed an amicus brief in April urging a federal appeals court to uphold a lower district court decision vacating the rule change. (The appeals court ultimately reversed the lower court’s ruling in August.)

But the request by KDADS for additional funding seems to indicate that the state is working to implement the rule change.

“It’s great to hear” about the department’s request for funding, said Mike Oxford, executive director of the Topeka Independent Living Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities access home care. “Our hope now is that KDADS, the [managed care organizations], and the service providers can all work together on this,” he told Heartland Health Monitor.

Although the rule change took effect on October 13, it will not be fully enforced until January 1, 2016. The U.S. Department of Labor will begin a period of partial enforcement based on “prosecutorial discretion” beginning November 12.

PHI, NELP, and several other organizations have prepared an issue brief (pdf) designed to help home care providers, consumers, workers, and state governments comply with the rule change.

More implementation guides are available under the Resources tab at the PHI Campaign for Fair Pay website.

— by Matthew Ozga

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