I am sorry to see the announcement that Home Hero is closing shop.
It does not have to be that way. It should not have been that way.
What we need, and what everyone in government, home care and labor should be supporting, is a change in our antiquated wage and hour laws that were designed around protecting factory workers. We need separate laws for healthcare workers that reflect and advance the public policy we have adopted, which is shifting care for the infirm to the home and away from facilities.
Factory-based overtime rules work well to protect employees who work in a healthcare facility but, if public policy is to prefer to serve at-risk persons outside of a facility, then we need laws consistent with that public policy. Legislatures should establish a wage and hour category for healthcare workers who care for the same population - but at home.
It isn't rocket science. We have special wage and hour rules for fire and rescue workers, the military, agricultural workers and even whatever a "companion" is. Likewise, we need a wage category and protective work rules for live-in caregivers. It can't be that hard! And if we are going to have more and more at-risk persons living in their homes longer and longer, the math says it is something we have to do.
Not doing this simple thing is driving regulated care, by real employees employed by licensed and regulated agencies, underground where no one is watching and people can be and are being exploited and harmed.
To make this work, to assure that frail at-risk persons are protected in their homes, and to assure that all workers are protected from exploitation, we also need the government to simultaneously, and earnestly, enforce existing laws intended to prevent both off the books labor and non-licensed, unregulated care. Government could fund this enforcement with the taxes they are not getting from the underground economy their inconsistent policies and practices are helping to grow.
Do these two things and the original HomeHero concept is a HomeRun.
Best of luck to you all in the future.
Mark is a population health management consultant and the former President and CEO of Addus HomeCare.