EMHS

Setting the Record Straight

1/12/2015

EMHS is being linked to lively debate concerning legislation that would redefine full-time employment under the Affordable Care Act from 30 hours a week to 40 hours a week. EMHS does not have a formal position on this issue, and did not participate in a media event in support of the legislation that was held last Wednesday (Jan. 7, 2015) in Washington, DC. 

The media event was held by a bipartisan group of senators, including Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine). Lisa Harvey-McPherson, RN, EMHS vice president of Continuum of Care, and chief advocacy officer, did address national news media at the news conference, but she did so in her role as board member for the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, and as chair of that group’s Voluntary Nonprofit Home Care Association of America. 

Because Lisa is highly recognizable as EMHS, there was confusion that her remarks were on behalf of EMHS. They were not.

To be clear, EMHS offers health insurance coverage to all of its employees, whether they are employed full time or part time. We regret the confusion but support Lisa’s decision to represent her volunteer role with the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, and the Voluntary Nonprofit Home Care Association of America. 

The following is the transcript of Lisa’s remarks at the news conference last week.
 

Senator Collins Press Conference
ACA Definition of Full Time Work

Lisa Harvey-McPherson Comments

Good morning, my name is Lisa Harvey-McPherson and I am here today as a board member of the Home Care and Hospice Alliance of Maine representing home care providers and patients we serve across the State of Maine. I am also honored to serve on the board of the National Association for Home Care Hospice and Chair of the NAHC affiliated organization, the Voluntary Nonprofit Home Care Association of America. I am a registered nurse who has dedicated my clinical career to caring for patients and families at home. I want to begin by thanking Senator Collins for her outstanding leadership supporting critical legislation to change the Affordable Care Act definition of full time employment from an average of 30 hours per week to 40 hours per week. This change correctly aligns the Affordable Care Act insurance coverage requirements OR employer financial penalties with national employment and benefit standard practices.

Today the current definition of full time employment averaging 30 hours per week will have a devastating impact on home care workers and the patients we serve. Home and community based care service providers employ workers on a per diem or as needed status based on the care requirements of the patient. With the oldest population in the United States, the demand for home care in Maine already exceeds the supply of workers available. It is also important to note that many of the patients receiving home and community based care services qualify for nursing home care and are able to stay at home with nursing assistants, care attendants, and nurses providing care. This type of home care service is generally funded by Medicaid, or for families with resources it is paid for privately.

With heavy reliance on Medicaid funding or patient/family personal resources, home care employers have no financial capacity to fund either insurance coverage or the $2000 dollar per employee financial penalty for employees who average 30 hours or more per week. A recent survey of home and community based care providers in Maine reveals dramatic impact as they will be forced to reduce average hours of employment to below 30 hours. This change will result in limiting access to care in rural areas of Maine, increased wait lists for services as providers are forced to become more restrictive in admitting patients due to reduced worker hours and yes even closure of home care agencies. All of this occurring at a time when Maine’s elder population requires more not less home care services to avoid or delay costly nursing facility placement.

On behalf of home care providers, our employees, and the patients we serve, I urge members of Congress to come together and support this critical piece of legislation.

Thank you.

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