Archive for Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Kansas Attorney General criticizes federal home health laws

April 7, 2015

— Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says new federal regulations threaten home health care services in Kansas.

Schmidt asked a federal appeals court on Monday to affirm a lower court ruling that blocked new U.S. Department of Labor regulations. In a court brief, Schmidt argued the federal agency overstepped its authority by requiring overtime pay for home health care workers and reducing the services they can provide.

"These new rules will put a tremendous burden on Kansas senior citizens and their families who hire home health workers, and the result in parts of Kansas will be that needed services become less available. This rule also amounts to another unfunded mandate on the states, which fund a significant number of home health care workers through their Medicaid programs."

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that other attorneys general from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Texas, Tennessee and Wisconsin joined Schmidt in the court brief.

The attorneys general argue Congress specifically exempted home health care workers from federal overtime rules. They also argue new rules on the types of services home health care workers may provide undermine the government's desire to allow senior citizens to receive care in their homes.

Kari Bruffett, Kansas' aging and disability services secretary, supports Schmidt's decision to file the brief.

"These are important issues for the many frail elderly and disabled Kansans who rely on the services of home health care workers to maintain their independence at home and remain in their home communities," Bruffett said.

Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for May 7.


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