Alexander Calls on Obama Administration to Suspend Rule That Could Threaten Access to In-Home Care for Nearly 240,000 Tennesseans

Says administration’s plan to delay enforcement for 6 months is evidence the rule is unworkable

Posted on October 7, 2014

MARYVILLE, October 7- U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today renewed his call on the Department of Labor (DOL) to suspend its rule that significantly changes the overtime exemption for companionship care—which would increase costs on many Tennessee seniors and individuals with disabilities who rely on non-medical caregivers for help with daily activities like eating, dressing, and moving about their home.

His call comes after DOL’s announcement today that it will not enforce the rule—set to take effect in January 2015—for the first six months of next year and will water-down enforcement for the following six months after that.

Alexander, the top Republican on the Senate labor committee, said, “Not only is the Department of Labor’s rule threatening in-home care for nearly 240,000 Tennesseans—it’s creating a mess of confusion for states in the process. The fact that the department plans to ignore its own rule after it goes into effect should be proof enough that it should be scrapped altogether.”

Last week, Alexander and Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) led a group of 23 Republicans in a letter to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez warning that state Medicaid programs have not been given adequate time or instruction on how to implement the rule and calling on DOL to suspend its implementation “to prevent its negative impact on the continuity and quality of care for vulnerable Americans.”

The senators also warned in their letter that the rule will “result in sudden increases in institutionalized care, which is often more costly and frequently covered by taxpayer dollars,” and rob caregivers of “valuable paid hours and much needed income.”

 

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