WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 30, 2020)—On March 23, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) sent comments to the Department of Labor arguing that nurses, therapists, home health and home care aides, and other personal care attendants be classified as “health care providers” and, thus, not “eligible employees” and subject to exclusion in the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. The act became law on March 19 as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

In a statement, NAHC said the current provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act defining “health care provider” fall short of recognizing the full range of those providing essential health care services. NAHC recommended the DOL amended the rules to recognize home care and hospice providers under the health care provider umbrella.

In a March 28 update, the DOL provided guidance on who is a health care provider:

For the purposes of employees who may be exempted from paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave by their employer under the FFCRA, a health care provider is anyone employed at any doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, employer, or entity. This includes any permanent or temporary institution, facility, location, or site where medical services are provided that are similar to such institutions.

In their advice to members, NAHC said the guidance was in line with long-standing DOL classification of individuals providing personal care service in the home as health care workers results in the conclusion that home health agencies, personal care services companies, private duty nursing employers, and hospices are all within DOL’s exemption of a “home health care provider.”

Providers should review all extended leave standards, as some may still apply to the workforce.