Permanent Home Care Program Changes Give Families More Flexibility and Support
Paid licensed caregivers and nurse overtime are now permanent options for Home Care families
We have exciting news about long-term changes to the Home Care Program. We have listened to our participant families and made two pandemic-related benefits permanent. These changes can provide continued flexibility and support beyond the public health emergency.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, UIC’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) partnered with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to address our Home Care families’ needs. Together, we set provisions included in Appendix K. Appendix K is an emergency coverage document for individuals receiving services through a Medicaid waiver.
We continued to partner with HFS to make two provisions permanent for Home Care participants. As a result, nurses can continue to provide overtime. Licensed parents/legally responsible adults (LRAs) can also remain paid nurse caregivers for their children enrolled in Home Care.
Below are more information and guidelines on these new permanent changes.
Licensed (RN or LPN) Parent/LRA Paid Caregivers
Parents or LRAs, including foster parents, can provide skilled nursing services to their children if they hold an active registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) license.
This approval includes participants enrolled in medically fragile, technology-dependent (MFTD) waiver services and non-waiver services. This approval is for all children approved for Home Care services, regardless of the child’s age.
- The licensed parent/LRA must be a nurse employee of a DSCC-approved nursing agency. The nursing agency sets the number of hours the parent can work each week.
- Services may begin on the licensed parent/LRA’s hire date.
- The licensed parent/LRA must meet all nursing agency rules for provider qualifications and training.
- The licensed parent/LRA can work overtime hours. Overtime is anything over 40 hours a week.
- The licensed parent/LRA must hold an active RN or LPN license.
- Licensed parents/LRAs may not provide respite services under the waiver.
- Licensed parents/LRAs cannot receive reimbursement for nurse training.
- The total nursing hours may not exceed the approved resource allocation.
Nursing agencies will permanently receive payment for overtime hours to Home Care participants. Overtime hours benefit the participant and family. They also allow nurse caregivers to provide more nursing coverage to participants. The possibility of overtime also incentivizes the nurse caregiver to provide more coverage. Overtime allows nursing agencies to cover more authorized hours while stretching their staffing over fewer nurses. This is especially helpful to families during a time of increased demand for nurses.
- Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, overtime is anything over 40 hours a week.
- The Nurse Practice Act prohibits working more than 16 hours in a 24-hour period. An eight-hour break between shifts is also mandatory.
- Overtime is defined as time-and-a-half.
- Overtime reimbursement comes from the approved resource allocation. The amount billed cannot exceed the HFS-approved resource allocation.
- Those on the MFTD waiver cannot use overtime when using respite hours.
- Parents/LRAs who are nurse paid caregivers can work overtime. The parent/LRA is an employee of the nursing agency. The nursing agency determines the number of hours the parent can work each week. The number of hours cannot exceed the approved resource allocation.
- Nurses can only be eligible for overtime when Medicaid is the payer. When private insurance is the payer, nurses cannot receive overtime pay.
Please contact your DSCC Care Coordinator with any questions or concerns.
We hope these permanent changes will continue to benefit your family.