Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down the new Companionship Services/Overtime rule in a triumphant win for patients, staff, and providers of home health care. This ruling completely invalidates the rule, allowing for the current practices of payment for workers to remain in place indefinitely. This lawsuit which was strongly supported by HCAF and lead by the National Association of Home Care and Hospice was crucial to making sure patients would continue to be able to afford high-quality home care, as well as necessary for state budgets to be able to continue providing Medicaid home health. Your membership in associations like HCAF and NAHC is what allows us to advocate on your behalf on critical issues like this one, therefore we thank our members for their continued support and encourage all others to join today.
Please read the press release from NAHC below for details on the case. It is unclear if the Department of Labor will file an appeal on this ruling, but for now, we are celebrating this fantastic success!
NAHC, along with Home Care Patients and Caregivers, Wins Huge Victory: Federal Court Rules to Strike Down Controversial New Overtime Rule
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and its members today celebrated the decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia invalidating a proposed new U. S. Department of Labor (DOL) overtime rule slated to take effect on January 1, 2015.
“This decision is a huge victory for patients and their families who will be able to continue receiving home care services without interruption. The decision is a huge victory for caregivers who will continue to be protected instead of being forced to work only part time. The decision is likewise a huge victory for the agencies that serve patients and employ caregivers, and who will see continuity in a rule that has been in effect for 40 plus years and had recently been sustained by the U.S. Supreme Court. Finally, the decision is a huge victory for the states and the federal Medicaid program.” said Denise Schrader, chairman of the NAHC Board.
This is the third victory in this lawsuit for home care interests within the last month. On December 22, the court ruled that patients are entitled to equal rights regardless of whether they or their families paid their home care bills or they were paid by the joint, federal-state health insurance program, known as Medicaid. On December 31, the court ruled for NAHC by agreeing to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) blocking the DOL from enforcing new rules related to “companionship” and “live-in” care. On January 9, the court, in considering a motion from NAHC attorneys for an injunction to block enforcement of residual parts of these rules through this date or a trial, stated that so much evidence was in the record there would be no need for a trial. The judge therefore agreed to give his decision on the case on or by January 14, when the TRO was set to expire. Today, the judge ruled for NAHC and home care interests, saying the proposed new DOL rules violated the law.
The DOL has not announced whether it will appeal this decision to U.S. Court of Appeals. NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris, stated “The home care community is prepared to defend this case before the higher court. We fought this case once before and took it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where we won by a unanimous vote of 8-0. We are prepared to do this again if we need to do so.”
“The victory in the case proves the power of unity,” said Halamandaris. “United, fighting on behalf of the aged, infirm, disabled, and dying, we cannot lose; divided we cannot win.” He also thanked Bill Dombi who helped lead the strategy in this case, the International Franchise Association and the Home Care Association of America which joined in the litigation and the law firm of Littler Mendelson which had been hired to bring the suit.
To read the decision, click here: https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2014cv0967-32
HCAF will continue to keep members up to speed on all the latest developments as they occur. We will be keeping a log of the events, marked with dates at the link below for members.
P.S. With all of these changes happening very quickly, we strongly suggest members attendHCAF’s 2015 Winter Mini-Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, January 21-22. There is so much change occurring at a rapid pace, that HCAF feels it is imperative that we offer an educational event to supplement our Annual Conference and offer increased learning opportunities, on important topics such as this, more often throughout the year. Registration is still open, but space is filling fast!