Food For Thought—Will Health Insurance Benefits for Field Workers Effect the Food on Our Tables?

The ACA will require hundreds of thousands of field workers to be covered by health insurance, creating a large concern in American agriculture. The requirement to cover workers was recently delayed until 2015, but farm labor contractors are already preparing for concerns such as cost, inconvenience and the liabilities presented with this new legislation. California has a substantial $43.5 billion agricultural industry, estimating the new law to cost roughly $1 per hour, per employee working in the fields. Many farmers believe this regulation will ultimately lead to higher labor costs, which will eventually be passed on to the consumer, “That cost is going to be borne by us at the end of the day”, said Scott Deardorff, a partner at Oxnard-based Deardorff Family Farms.

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Home Care Press Conference Marks Senator Prague’s Return

On Friday, January 27, HMS attended a press conference Home Care: It’s Complicated held at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.  The conference, hosted by Representative Betsy Ritter (D-Waterford/Montville) , Representative Michelle Cook (D-Torrington) and the Home Health Legislative Workgroup (HHLWG) focused on the importance of making informed decisions when selecting home care services.  HMS Healthcare Management Solutions Director of Home & Hospice Care, Kim Skehan, has served on the HHLWG since its inception in January, 2010.

The press conference served as an opportunity to outline home health care service delivery options for residents under state-funded programs. As Connecticut continues to implement its “right-sizing” plan for health services, providing information to allow consumers to make informed choices is of critical importance.

According to a recent poll, 89% of Connecticut residents desire to age at home, receiving services in the community beyond the walls of institutionalized care.  Currently, only half of those residents receiving Medicaid-funded long-term care live at home or in community settings.  But for those consumers who chose to stay at home, there is often uncertainty and confusion surrounding the selection of home care services.  Until now.

Caring For Yourself Or A Loved One: What Consumers Should Consider When Hiring A Personal Caregiver, unveiled at today’s press conference, provides a way for consumers to evaluate qualifications, credentials and options when selecting a home health or hospice caregiver.  The educational brochure offers guidance on the types of services available, the duties of those workers as well as training competency requirements and frequency of supervision.

Representative Cook referenced the tool as a way for consumers to find the information they need to make informed decisions. Cook recounted her own struggles finding appropriate services for her mother-in-law who recently fell ill.  Even with her connections at agencies across the state, navigating through the process proved confusing.

“We need to make this an easier process for consumers to manipulate,” said Cook.

Senator Edith Prague (D-Columbia), who made her return after suffering a stroke, talked about her first hand experience with the health care system and spoke about the need for easier access to home health care.

“People want to be at home in familiar surroundings and in charge of the care they receive,” said Prague.  “I’m living proof that home care works.”

HMS Healthcare Management Solutions Director of Home & Hospice Care, Kim Skehan, talked about the importance of explaining the differences between the different caregivers and the services they provide.

“There is confusion on behalf of the public and providers over the level of services in the community,” said Skehan.  “Clarifying the roles helps people make the choice that’s right for them.”

To view Caring For Yourself Or A Loved One: What Consumers Should Consider When Hiring A Personal Caregiver, click here.