Unions and organizations representing the elderly in California have pushed for legislation that would license agencies, certify workers, and create a publicly accessible caregiver registry. Some home care agencies, described as nonmedical services for the elderly (bathing, dressing, and other basic tasks around the home) favor regulation but do not favor the specific measures. The legislation, Assembly Bill 1217, will be voted on the Senate floor this week after already passing the State Assembly.
In California, any organization which offers home care only needs a business license. Currently, 27 states require home care agencies to be licensed and certified and rightly so. A study published last year by Northwestern University found that few agencies perform thorough background checks or provide necessary training. Under the proposed Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act, home care agencies would be required to be licensed by the state by July 1, 2014 or be fined $900 a day.
Organizations in California which oppose the legislation say that they do not have an issue with the licensing and certification requirements, but do believe assuring the capability of their employees should be their responsibility and voluntary, not the state’s. Home care organizations oppose a caregiver registry which would reveal the names of their workers to competitors and union organizers. They also believe the extra costs could backfire and reduce the amount of workers in the industry.
Despite the opposition, there is strong support from organizations which represent home care workers such as the Direct Care Alliance. Supporters want to make home care a legitimized profession where all agencies meet the same basic standards and regulations.
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