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DOL looking to modify companionship services exemption

The U.S. Department of Labor as well as some members of Congress are looking to modify or eliminate the longstanding definition and application of the companionship services exemption. It is anticipated that changes to the companionship services exemption would reduce the availability of care to the elderly and the infirm and increase the costs of service delivery with no corresponding increase from third party payers, such as Medicaid.  For private pay home care, the cost of overtime compensation would need to be passed on to the consumer or absorbed by the home care company.

In response to these efforts, Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) introduced H.R. 3066, the Companionship Exemption Protection Act, which would ensure the current definition of companionship services is maintained.  We encourage you to help gather support for this legislation by reaching out to your representative’s office and ask your representative to cosponsor the Companionship Exemption Protection Act.

To assist in your efforts, we developed an Action Alert item on the NAHC Legislative Action Network.  The Action Alert provides background materials on the companionship services exemption as well as a copy of the Dear Colleague letter Rep. Terry sent to his colleagues in the House of Representatives inviting them to cosponsor H.R.3066.  You may click here to send an email to your legislator in the House of Representatives.  You may also use this link (Contact Your Elected Officials) to locate contact information for your representative if you would prefer to call.

Eight members have already joined Terry as cosponsors: Reps. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Gregg Harper (R-MS), Jeffery Landry (R-LA), Alan Nunnelee (R-MS), Ron Paul (R-TX), Thomas Petri (R-WI), Adrian Smith (R-NE) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA).  NAHC 12/08/2011