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Some Significant Changes Have Occurred Within The Non-medical Home Care Industry.

If you are considering non-medical home care for your loved one, you should be aware of some changes in this segment of the senior living industry.

When I started in the senior living industry over 15 years ago, things were very simple. “Assisted living” meant nothing more than “stand by,” assistance with activities of daily living. Now, the industry has changed. “Hands on” care is available at the assisted living level, which allows the senior to remain in his/her assisted living apartment so much longer. In the same way, the licensed, non-medical home care agencies have undergone many changes. I have asked Mike O’Brien, owner of Independence-4-Seniors, and Legislative Chairperson, Illinois Chapter of the Home Care Association of America to tell you about them.

Illinois Legislation and Regulatory Changes in Private Duty Homecare
Mike O’Brien
Owner, Independence-4-Seniors Home Care
Hinsdale, IL

Legislative Chairperson
Illinois Chapter of the Home Care Association of America

I would like to thank Andrea for asking me to contribute to her e-Newsletter this month. She and I recently spoke about the continual changes in legislation and regulations that affect the private duty home care agencies in Illinois and she asked that I update her newsletter audience on a few of these important changes.

Private duty home care represents just one of many points on the long-term care continuum. Fifteen years ago there were approximately 325-350 private duty agencies operating in Illinois. At that time, other than the usual minimum wage and labor laws, the only significant law that these agencies were required to follow was the 1995 Criminal Background check act for healthcare workers.

Fast forward to 2016 and we now have over 700 private duty agencies in Illinois with new agencies opening every month. Unlike the nearly non-existent regulatory environment of the past, these agencies now have to be licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health, due to an Illinois licensure law passed in 2006. Agencies are required to update their information during an annual license renewal process and also undergo a site survey every 3 years to maintain a valid license. These additional rules and regulations imposed on this industry in Illinois have largely been focused on better consumer protection and safety.

This year there are numerous bills that have the potential to further regulate private duty agencies. From increases in minimum wage and mandated employee paid time off at the state level to employee healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act at the Federal level, this industry has forever changed from its early days as simply providing another option for those seeking long-term care. One particular state bill, that will likely signed into law this year, will regulate those private duty agencies that advertise or verbally offer their ability to provide Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias services. Agency staff with direct access to clients with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia would be required to undergo a specific number of hours of annual training in a specified Alzheimer’s & dementia curriculum. Again, we are seeing more regulation for this industry aimed at better protection for consumers and their safety.

It actually should come as no surprise to us agency owners that regulations are increasing when you look at the number of direct care workers that are employed nationally. With the direct care workforce (comprised of a very large percentage of private duty workers) projected to surpass the retail sales workforce by 2022, those of us who operate private duty agencies know we are a very large part of the labor force and we will likely see no end to a steady flow of legislation and regulatory changes in the future.

For all of your senior living needs, contact Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors. Call us at (708) 415-2934 or email us. Please visit our website. Please watch my video to learn how the process works and learn what some clients have to say.