Op-Ed: Rising Senior Home Care Costs Run Deep
BY ELIZABETH ECKER ON MARCH 19, 2014 IN HOME CARE, NEWS REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
Many elderly or disabled home care patients could be “priced out” of receiving the services they are accustomed to receiving as the result of legislative changes that are putting pressure on the cost of doing business in home care, writes Steve Meyer, a home care company founder and CEO, in a Seattle business journal.
Pointing to the reversal of the Companionship Services Exemption as well as rising minimum wages in Washington, where his company is based, Meyer, founder of Fedelta Care Solutions, says the combined stresses will not be good for business, nor for the consumer.
“…due to the overtime rules, a live-in care client could begin to see as many as four to six caregivers a week, rather than the two the client may be accustomed to seeing. Opponents of the new regulation believe this could cause a disruption in the continuity of care,” he writes in the Puget Sound Business Journal. “Second, reflecting the minimum wage mandate, the live-in client would most likely see an hourly charge on the bill rather than a flat daily fee, causing a substantial fee increase.”
Rising costs could prevent consumers from being able to afford in-home care, which would lead to alternative such as family caregiving and moving into a long term care community.
The minimum wage increase is not final, Meyer notes, but hourly costs of care are likely to rise as a result about 15% by his estimate should the wage increase go into effect.
“The need for in-home care will continue to rise, and whether the removal of the Companionship Services Exemption leads to a positive or negative impact on the industry remains to be seen,” he says. “However, both agencies and individuals receiving care would be smart to prepare now for the upcoming changes.”