Tell JCAR Members to vote against the proposed Home Services Overtime Policy

Dear Access Living friends and allies,

It's Groundhog Day! Have you seen the film? It's the one where Bill Murray finds himself reliving the same day over and over again on an endless loop, until he realizes that he needs to re-examine his priorities. And that's kind of how it is about the proposed overtime rule for the Illinois Home Services Program (HSP).

This week, we'd like to ask you once again to contact the members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) using this link to remind them how important it is to have policies for HSP that don't put people with disabilities in jeopardy.

Why, might you ask, are we still worried about this proposed rule? The State insists they have done everything they can to consider the interests of stakeholders. The problem is, that despite some improvements, the proposed policy:

...still affects around 7,000 personal attendants/home care workers who work more than 45 hours per week. It is unclear how many persons with disabilities could be affected, but 7,000 workers do serve a lot of people with disabilities.

...reduces the importance of consumer control. The old HSP policy said that consumers had full control over hiring, firing and managing their workers. The new proposed policy says that DHS gets to figure out whether you are capable of doing that first, without much of an explanation about how they will figure that out.

...still seems to assume that personal attendants are interchangeable. For example, a hospital can run 24/7 because shifts of doctors and nurses come in and out and are able to hand over patients. However, the nature of personal attendant work is individualized, and many personal attendants have been trained specifically by the HSP customer to keep them safe. It takes a long time to hire and train personal attendants, who MUST listen to the HSP customer in order to ensure their safety. Thus, while for hospital workers it is reasonable to limit the hours of work per week, limiting the hours of work for personal attendants can actually put the HSP customer in jeopardy.

...fails to provide adequate safeguards for HSP customers whose personal attendants may be suspended. If an HSP customer has their attendant suspended, the backup attendant MAY or MAY NOT be available. This is a problem. What will the State do to ensure the HSP customer has continuous coverage?

These are just some of the problematic points of the policy, and why we believe that the State needs to pursue an avenue towards as much flexibility as possible. The current proposed rule could create some real issues.

So please, take action today!

Amber Smock
Director of Advocacy, Access Living