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HCA Submits Comments and Senate Testimony on Proposed Scheduling Rule

Yesterday, HCA submitted comments to the state Department of Labor (DOL) and testimony for a state Senate Hearing on DOL’s proposed scheduling/call-in pay rule, which would have major implications for health care providers, especially home care. Our comments are here and our testimony is here.

As described in numrous communications, the rule would impose the following requirements on employers (with certain exceptions):

An employee must be paid an additional two hours of call-in pay if reporting for a shift that was not scheduled 14 days in advance.

An employee whose shift is canceled within 72 hours of the scheduled start time must be paid at least four hours of call-in pay.

An employee who is required to be available to report to work (“on-call”) must be paid at least four hours of call-in pay or pay for the number of hours in a regularly-scheduled shift.

An employee who is required to be “available to report to work for any shift” must receive at least four hours of call-in pay.

An employee who is required to contact the employer and confirm whether to report to work within 72 hours of the shift start time must be paid at least four hours of call-in pay.

The proposed rule is here (pages 8 to 11).

In our comments and testimony, HCA strongly urges DOL to withdraw the proposed rule or, in the least, carve-out and exempt home care and hospice services from the rule. We support this position by making the following points:

The proposed rule places significant impediments to the manner in which home care and hospice services are structured and delivered, including the variable employer scheduling practices that are fundamental to meeting unpredictable and dynamic needs of patients and families.

rule’s “unscheduled shift” and “cancelled shift” provisions are incompatible with how care at home is delivered, where hours are started, increased, decreased, eliminated or otherwise adapted due to reasons unique to home care and hospice agencies and their patients, and typically beyond the control of the employer.

The rule’s limited exceptions don’t help home care/hospice.

The proposed rule would be contrary to and undermine the state’s recent reform efforts, including the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program and Value Based Payments, which rely on a flexible, seamless and expeditious direction of resources and case assignment.

Contrary to the state DOL’s claim that the rule does not impose any mandatory costs, the rule would impose enormous costs on home care, hospice and managed care plans from the imposed rigidities on services and from the payment “penalties” that would be constantly and unfairly triggered from the natural patterns that require home care and hospice to revolve around the patient and the patient’s variable and changing needs.

This week’s Senate Hearing was held by the Standing Committee on Commerce, Economic Development, and Small Business, chaired by Senator Phil Boyle, and the Senate Administrative Regulations Review Commission, chaired by Senator Chris Jacobs.

HCA has already reached out to and met with the Governor’s staff, as well as Senate and Assembly officials, about the detrimental effects to patient care and agency operations if the rule is finalized. We will continue to advocate this position in all of our state advocacy efforts.

Our comments and testimony were based on feedback from numerous members and we thank all who communicated their concerns.

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