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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Illinois New OT Rules in 2017 for Home Health Care Workers Limit People with Disabilities Care

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has jumped another hurdle in his push to reduce the cost of home health-care. But, some people affected by the change are warning of dire consequences.
ILLINOIS PUBLIC RADIO article • MAR 14, 2017                        
K-L Cleeton runs a video production company from his parents’ home in Effingham. His parents work for him, but not to grab coffee at his film shoots.

“Because my disability is so severe, I require 24-hour assistance. If I have an itch, I can’t scratch it. So this is very much my choice.”

Cleeton prefers to have his parents care for him instead of hiring a home health aid. He says his muscular condition is like being quadriplegic.

Under the governor’s new rules, Cleeton’s parents will be limited to 45 hours of work a week. After that, they’ll have to find an outside worker to fill in the gaps — and figure out to how to replace the lost income.

The administration says the rule change will keep caretakers from being overworked, create jobs and save money.

But Fred Flather, chief of staff for the Illinois Department of Human Services, says money is not the driving factor.

"The main thrust of this rule is to enhance customer security and safety by making sure they have enough providers, and that they're providers are going to be fresh. And the side benefit is yeah it's going to save a little bit of money."

The new policy will go into effect August 1st. Exceptions will be made for clients requiring more extensive care.
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Access Living (center of independent living) of Metro Chicago has shared this helpful information:
We at Access Living know that many people with disabilities, families and Individual Providers (IPs, also known as PAs or home care workers) are very distressed over this saga, which has dragged on since October of 2015. People need to know:
  • The State said yesterday that it does not plan to implement the new rule until August 1, 2017 at this time
  • The State must file the new rule with the Secretary of State's office. The timeline for that is unclear and they could add more language to the rule before then.
  • Advocates will continue to talk with the State about the rule and how to ensure that people are not hurt
  • For now, the current process on overtime stays in place.
  • The rule will cap IP hours at 45 per week, but includes provisions for pre-approved exceptions for certain HSP customers with disabilities for a term of one year. These people would be judged medically complex or not able to secure IPs within a 40 mile radius. However currently the guidelines for these determinations are not yet clear. The rule relies heavily on the requirement of having backup providers in case of emergency. It is also not quite clear how family IPs will be affected.
  • The State has however made it clear that they do not intend to reduce the current level of consumer control in the program. That remains the same as it is now.
  • The State says that the 45 hour cap means that 89% of the IPs across the state will not be affected. However, with around 30,000 IPs, the remaining 11% account for about 3,300 IPs. It is unclear how many HSP consumers those 3,300 IPs work for, and whether those consumers would qualify for exceptions. It is unclear what the geographic concentrations for both groups would be.
Access Living Press Release statement is at this link. https://www.accessliving.org/1410ga792

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