General Law Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5345

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING HOMEMAKER-COMPANION AGENCIES AND CONSUMER PROTECTION.

Vote Date:

3/12/2013

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/21/2013

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Rep. Elizabeth B. Ritter, 38th District

Rep. Emmett D. Riley, 46th District

Rep. Joseph C. Serra, 33rd District

REASONS FOR BILL:

To protect consumers who contract with homemaker-companion agencies.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None submitted

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Rep. Elizabeth B. Ritter, State Legislator, 38th District

“My concern for the need for increased protections for consumers of Homemaker Companion Agencies comes from a specific circumstance involving a constituent of mine and my subsequent research into her case and the regulations surrounding the provisions of these services. The issue center around two areas: misrepresentation made regarding her insurance coverage for the services provided by the agency and the quality of the care she received.”

Brian Johnson, AARP

“Stronger consumer protections will help individuals make informed choices, monitor quality, eliminates overbilling and provides adequate notice of their out-of-pocket costs.”

Tom Falik, Chief Operating Officer, Euro-American Connections and Homecare

“The CT Association of Home Care Registries is very supportive of consumer protections relating to Homemaker Companion Agencies. We realize that in this industry, as in many others, not everyone plays by the rules, and we are absolutely committed to clarification and tightening of reasonable rules regulating the industry, if they will better protect consumers and can be applied equally to all providers of home care services.”

John C. Wirzbicki, Attorney, Brown Jacobson, PC

“I believe that Rep. Ritter's proposal would address these issues in a reasonable fashion. It might not prevent all abuses, but it would certainly make it more unlikely for them to occur, and would provide redress for vulnerable consumers.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Martin Acevedo, General Counsel, Companions & Homemakers, Inc

“While the merit in some of the proposed changes, the proposed bill should be carefully re-examined in our opinion, some of these provisions are either legally redundant unworkable, or inconsistent with the nature of the custodial, non-medical model of (Consumer Protection-regulated) homemaker-companion agencies.”

Kenneth Gurin, President, CT Chapter of the Home Care Association of America-HCAOA (formerly known as the National Private Duty Association)

“To require agencies to inform potential clients the results of background checks poses two major issues. First it violates the employee's legal right to Privacy and violates the Connecticut personnel file statute. (CGS subsection 31-128a, ets eq).”

Reported by: Angel Morales

3/20/2013