“Advocacy in Action”

Earlier this week, Republicans in the U.S. Senate unveiled their response to the $3 trillion HEROES Act passed by Democrats in the House of Representatives several weeks ago. The $1 trillion stimulus package, presented in a number of separate bills, known as the HEALS Act, includes the following items of interest to the home care community:

  • $25B additional dollars for the Provider Relief Fund;

  • Flexibilities to the SBA Payroll Protection Program (PPP);

  • Business tax credits established for COVID-19 related expenses and impacts;

  • Healthcare provider and caregiver liability protections; and

  • Federal unemployment insurance support reduced to $200/week with a plan to supplement state unemployment insurance up to 70 percent of a worker’s prior earnings.

In addition to these focus items, the bill emphasizes supporting businesses, getting people back to work, and providing much-needed aid to schools across the nation. Certainly, not everything we had hoped for was included in this package.

While it can be anticipated that some form of each of these provisions will be included in the final legislation, negotiations with Democrats and the White House are in the early stages and there is no guarantee what form these will take in the finalized version or which provisions may not survive. There is a long way to go before any of these items become law.

Congress is scheduled to recess at the end of the week and many Congressional representatives are eager to get back to their home states as they look to the upcoming election season.

PDHCA and NAHC are tracking the elements of the HEALS Act closely and partnering with state associations and providers to continue to advocate on behalf of the home care industry. We continue to our efforts specific for the private duty community, advocating for:

  • Premium pay for our frontline caregivers;

  • Essential benefits for workers;

  • Medicaid HCBS Supports;

  • Business and worker liability protections; and

  • Priority access to PPE.

Additionally, our advocacy efforts continue to the foster the following caregiver support principals to ensure the equitable, effective, and efficient deployment of programs that will protect and incentive employment in the delivery of home care:

  • Inclusion of sufficient reward for home care front line workers to positively impact workforce retention and engage and sufficiently acknowledge the added risk these essential workers face;

  • Allocation of funding for needed workforce recruitment efforts;

  • Equity in eligibility for essential worker pay- all disciplines providing direct care should be eligible;

  • Enhanced pay delivered with expedience and efficiency;

  • Minimal employee/employer burden; and

  • Minimization of cash flow disruption for employers as home care employers tend to operate on narrow financial margins due to limited payment rates from government-funded payer sources and private pay clients with finite means.

How you can help

As negotiations around the elements of the HEALS Act continue to evolve, we encourage you and your staff to get involved by visiting the  NAHC Advocacy Center and sending a message to your Congressional representatives. Remind them of the integral and important work you do to provide quality care and services to millions of Americans, allowing them to live safely in the comfort of their own homes with dignity and independence.

Every Voice, Every Heart, Every Action

#HomeCareFirst #AdvocacyInAction