SOUTHERN PINES, N.C., April 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Private Care Association  (PCA) announced their serious concern for the risk home health care workers (caregivers) take when they enter multiple homes. According to Joseph Bensmihen, president of the PCA, "Exposure to COVID-19 is magnified because of an influx of multiple caregivers entering high risk patient's homes daily. This is the direct result of the misguided, though well-intentioned, 2015 repeal of the Companionship Services Exemption (CSE) under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FSLA).

The CSE, which was established in 1974, made  in-home care affordable by eliminating mandatory and costly overtime pay for home health care workers. This exemption successfully balanced the interests of both caregivers and patients for  45 years by allowing patients to afford one-on-one extended care, and caregivers to acquire a 40 hour plus work week if they so desire.

Now with mandatory and life saving social distancing laws in place, it is imperative the CSE be reinstated by the U.S. Department of Labor, immediately, so that private in-home care can be affordable to the people who need to "stay home and stay safe" the most. Moreover, CSE dually benefits caregivers; many of who do not believe it is arduous to work longer than the FSLA mandated 40-hour workweek. Marsha Davidson, a caregiver from Lauderhill, Florida, says she relies on the extra money to pay her bills and take care of her daughter. Davidson states, much of the time she spends with her patient she is "hanging out, having lunch, reading books and having fun."

Recently the House Ways and Means Committee  stated round-the-clock home care, with overtime, could cost a family approximately $180,000 a year. Since Government programs, such as Medicare, do not cover this cost, most patients who need in-home care are simply unable to afford it. Additionally, unless the CSE is reinstated in a timely fashion, the lives of patients and their multiple home health care workers are continuously, and unnecessarily, in danger daily,  thus putting even greater risk and stress to the community at large.

How does reinstating the CSE benefit the entire community?
If elderly and disabled patients, at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19, could affordably and safely stay at home, and receive consistent one-on-one care, they will likely NOT end up in the care of already overcrowded and over extended hospitals. Thereby the reinstatement of the Companionship Services Exemption (CSE) under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FSLA) becomes an immediate benefit to the collective public interest.

Media Contact:
Liz Goodman (516) 395.6363, lgentertainmentgroup@gmail.com

WHAT IS THE COMPANIONSHIP SERVICES EXEMPTION?
Established in 1974 by Congress, the Companionship Services Exemption (CSE) under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FSLA) deliberately excluded home care workers, commonly known as caregivers, from the FLSA in order to financially protect a vulnerable group of Americans, namely the elderly and disabled. Without this exemption, in-home care would be unaffordable for most families.

HOW DOES REINSTATING THE CSE PROTECT PATIENTS FROM EXPOSURE TO COVID-19?
Government action can help prevent dangerous exposure to COVID-19 by reinstating the Companionship Services Exemption (CSE) under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FSLA). This action could immediately curtail multiple home care workers from treating high-risk patients in their homes and make in-home care by one home health care worker affordable to the masses.

WHAT IS THE CURRENT COST OF HOME CARE IF THE EXEMPTION IS NOT REINSTATED?
According to the House Ways and Means Committee, round-the clock in-home care, with calculated overtime pay, could cost approximately $180,000 per year to a disabled or elderly person. Since government programs, such as Medicare, do not cover this cost, many patients are forced to replace their aide every eight hours, which means, they are risking exposure to 3 different people daily. Additionally, home health care workers are treating several different patients each week, thus dangerously exposing themselves and their patients to COVID-19.

ABOUT THE PRIVATE CARE ASSOCIATION (PCA)
The Private Care Association (PCA), founded in 1977,  promotes the consumer directed model of home care, emphasizing consumer choice and encouraging caregiver entrepreneurship.  A national association representing caregiver registries, member registries refer independent care providers who provide assistance with activities of daily living, companion care, homemaker services and nursing services in a client's home.

The Private Care Association adheres to the following standards:

  • Strict Code of Ethics
  • Promotes a consumer directed model of home care.
  • Encourages caregiver entrepreneurship.
  • Educates regulatory bodies in a position to positively impact industry legislation
  • Adheres to thorough background-screening and credential-verification protocols

ABOUT JOSEPH (JB) BENSMIHEN
Joseph Bensmihen, known by his friends and colleagues as JB, is the national president of the Private Care Association. JB, who lives with a disability, knows firsthand the importance of the CSE. JB is an author, speaker, advocate, and coach. He has advised multiple members of Congress on health care, consumer rights, the sustainability of small business, and other issues related to seniors and people with disabilities. JB has given over 600 inspirational talks at a wide range of venues, from Chautauqua Institute to Yeshiva University. JB has received Yeshiva University's Points of Light award and multiple Distinguished Community Service Awards from Florida Atlantic University's School of Social Work.

ABOUT LIZ GOODMAN-PILKINGTON
Liz Goodman-Pilkington has been working as a Publicist, Reporter and Television Producer for more than 25 years.  With special emphasis focusing on health care communications. Liz partners with a privately held media company to produce and publish evidence-based public health and medical education programs citing trusted peer-reviewed science. For more information visit www.lgentertainmentgroup.com or email lgentertainmentgroup@gmail.com or contact Liz Goodman at 516.395.6363.

For more information regarding the Private Care Association contact JB Bensmihen at 561.289.9495.

Write to Private Care Association, P.O. Box 0911 Southern Pines, NC 28388.

CONTACT: Joseph Bensmihen, President Private Care Association
PH: 561-289-9495 president@privatecare.org lgentertainmentgroup@gmail.com
Media Contact: Liz Goodman PH:516-395-6363 lgentertainmentgroup@gmail.com

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