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CMS to Abandon Rule Allowing Medicaid to Pay Home Health Worker Union Dues

Posted on Friday, July 13, 2018 8:41 PM

CMS announced this week that it plans to abandon a 2014 Medicaid rule allowing home health workers’ union dues to be paid through checks, sent to the workers themselves. 

“The law provides that Medicaid providers must be paid directly and cannot have part of their payments diverted to third parties outside of a few very specific exceptions,” said acting director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services Tim Hill in a statement released by the agency. “This proposed rule is intended to ensure that providers receive their complete payment.”

This rule reversal will not prohibit workers from being able to join unions, but it most likely will make collecting dues harder for the union.

 “The CMS proposal is likely to have a negative impact on unions more than any other party,” said William A. Dombi, President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC). “The policy change could make it harder for a union to collect dues. SEIU has unionized a number of the individual providers. The rule change is likely to stand in the way of a state automatically diverting some of its Medicaid payment to the union to cover a dues obligation. While this should not affect home care companies, it is worthy of some note as an ‘anti-union’ measure.”

Dombi went on to say that “we have not seen Medicaid reassigning home care payments, so the impact of this CMS action is totally speculative.”

“The main focus involves ‘individual providers’ of home care in contrast to agency-model providers. These individual providers are not employed by home care agencies, instead acting independently as an employee of a consumer or an independent contractor. As individuals they may have other debts that the state wants to cover with the Medicaid payments that might otherwise go to the worker such as child support. CMS is eliminating that payment diversion authority with the proposal.”

Source: NAHC Report

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