Need for Home Health Workers Grows

Baby boomers, as they grow older and more infirm, will need more home health aides, and personal care aides – jobs that overlap, with the latter often doing more housekeeping. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says both categories will be among the fastest growing in the next seven years, adding just over a million jobs. Aging baby boomers are driving the demand for more health services, but how that care is delivered is not just about demographics. It’s also about who can do it more cheaply, said labor economist Paul Harrington, director of Drexel University’s Center for Labor Markets and Policy. Already, he said, the trend is moving from care provided in expensive facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes to less-costly places – outpatient clinics and rowhouses. Responsibilities also are shifting from expensive professionals, such as doctors, to nurses and ultimately to caregivers. Nearly 3.1 million people may be employed in these fields by 2022, so it’s not surprising that their pay, prospects, and working conditions are stirring concern and controversy. That’s in part because of the complex way these workers are paid. Agencies typically hire the workers, assign them to cases, and pay them, but the underlying funds often come from the government, with Medicaid being a major payer. Other aides are employed directly by the people they help if those clients do not qualify for a government program. Until recently, home health aides in most states were not entitled to overtime. When the U.S. Labor Department set out new rules allowing overtime as of Jan. 1, industry groups, including the Home Care Association of America, sued to block their implementation. On Aug. 21, a federal appeals court overturned the block. The association said it plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the appellate decision now clears the way for home health workers to get paid for overtime.   (Some states already require overtime pay).

Source/more: Philadelphia Inquirer

See also Home Care Association of America v. Weil, 2015 WL 4978980 (D.C. Cir.) (case note below)

David Wingate is an Elder Law Attorney with the Elder Law Office of David Wingate. The Elder Law Office works in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland. The elder law practice consists of Powers of Attorneys, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and Asset Protection.

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