New Developments in Home Health Care Risk Management

February 11, 2014

Caregivers serve as modern day Florence Nightingales, providing crucial services and quality of life for millions of people who are unable to care for themselves. It’s a calling that’s both highly rewarding and extremely challenging. And their role is becoming more important as the U.S. population continues to age and cost-containment strategies lead to shorter hospital stays.

Ranked by the Labor Department as one of the fastest growth occupations through 2020, and fueled the aging Baby Boomer segment, the number of home health workers is expected to hit 3.2 million by 2020 representing a 68 percent increase from 2010 according to the Wall Street Journal.

While care companies are well-positioned for growth, they must keep a close eye on potential liabilities.

The tasks involved with providing care can expose companies to a number of potential risks, including:

  • Workers’ compensation injuries from awkward, demanding tasks such as lifting patients
  • Commercial auto claims that arise during patient transport
  • Errors and omissions claims that arise from accusations of negligence, incompetence, theft or sexual harassment

And now, another major exposure is gaining prominence: Employment practices claims.

  • New Protections for Home Health Care Workers: The home healthcare industry is under a bright spotlight after the Labor Department extended minimum-wage and overtime pay for home healthcare workers effective Jan. 1, 2015. Many home healthcare workers currently do not receive overtime when they work more than 40 hours. The new rule redefines “companionship services,” extending minimum wage and overtime protections.
  • Domestic Workers Rules Overhauled in California: In September 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to help California’s domestic workers. One of three measures of its kind in the country, AB 241, the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, grants basic labor protections to California’s domestic workers – household cleaners, caregivers and childcare providers who work in private homes. The bill went into effect on January 1, 2014, extending overtime pay to domestic workers who care for children, the elderly or those with disability, more than 9 hours a day or 45 hours a week. Similar bills have also been signed in New York and Hawaii.

With these exposures in mind, care organizations need specialized insurance coverage for their unique industry and risks. The best way to find out exactly what coverage you need is to talk to an expert. At Heffernan Insurance Brokers, we are well-versed in home care insurance and caregivers insurance. We’re actively involved with industry groups across the country and have developed special programs for leading associations and franchises.

Let us create an insurance program that will protect your assets – and the vital work you do.