Even though it is called An Act Strengthening Home Care Services, Connecticut legislative proposal SB 1051 could actually have the exact opposite impact on caregivers throughout the state. While the intention of the bill might be advertised as improving quality of care and support for elderly and disabled clients throughout the state, there may be a more surreptitious purpose.
The bill passed the Human Services committee and is now presented before the General Assembly. If passed, it would require all agencies employing home care support workers to share personal data and information about those caregivers to the state. This would then be made public.
According to some, this is not only a violation of those workers’ rights, but it can also undermine the integrity of the entire industry throughout the state. This may, though, be another underhanded attempt to help support unions in their effort to unionize private workers.
According to the CT Mirror in its blog, Not the way to improve homecare services, written by Linda Grigerek:
“SB 1051 would require that homecare companies send personal employee data to the state; that data would then become public information, available to labor unions and competing homecare companies. Such disclosure is of great concern, representing a significant threat to the privacy of our caregivers and a serious reporting burden to our industry.
Since the success of a homecare agency depends on the quality of its workforce, a good agency does its best for its employees. At Companions & Homemakers, we offer a company-matched 401K, 80 percent paid healthcare, college scholarships, on-line and on-site training courses, and wellness programs. We are committed to the best interests of the caregivers who work for us, and we will do all we can to fight this invasion of their privacy.”
While it may sound reasonable to help increase wages and benefits for workers by allowing them the option to unionize, many claim it is just another way for unions to earn more money through forced monthly dues.
Many of these home care workers, even those working for and being paid by agencies, are supporting elderly clients who are covered by Medicaid. Unless the government is willing to increase these Medicaid reimbursement rates, there is little room for agencies to increase wages outside of cutting support service hours to clients or minimizing the number of staff they have.
While the bill may sound great by its title, according to some advocates within the industry, it could hurt in the long run, at least in Connecticut.