08 Nov What Home Care Agencies Don’t Require COVID Vaccines or Testing?
Are you a current caregiver or home health aide looking for a home health agency that does not require COVID vaccines or COVID testing? We tell you about options for caregivers that want to find a home care agency that doesn’t require the COVID vaccine or regular testing in our newest post.
New regulations coming out by the Biden administration mandate healthcare companies, including home health aides, home care agencies, and home health agencies to require their employees and caregivers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These regulations are expected to take effect on January 1, 2022. As a result, many caregivers that cannot or will not get vaccinated for whatever reason are wondering if there are other employment options out there.
Does the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine rule include all home care agencies and home health companies?
Many home care agencies are required to comply with the federal government orders that all healthcare workers must be vaccinated by January 1, 2022. This includes all home care agencies and caregivers that receive federal funding (IE, Medicare and Medicaid). However, there is one important exception to this. Home care agencies that employ less than 100 total employees (including caregivers, home health aides, direct care workers, and office staff) do not fall under the mandate. For example, Chosen Family Home Care does not have over 100 employees to they would be a company that is not required to comply with the vaccine mandate that all workers by fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022.
Who is responsible for enforcing the regulations that home care agency workers must get vaccinated by January 1?
The ruling is being put into place and enforced by Occupational Safety and Health Administration under the Labor Department, and applies to businesses with 100 or more employees.
However, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services also has its own requirements. All home health agencies must ensure that every staff member is vaccinated by January 4, 2022, regardless of their size.
Will my current home care agency fall under these regulations?
Perhaps. It is recommended that you ask your current home care agency or home health agency if they fall under these regulations and/or their current or future policy on COVID-19 vaccine requirements for caregivers. As you will see below, there is no exception available for family caregivers. The only way a caregiver can continue without being vaccinated is under a qualifying medical condition or a religious exemption.
Does that mean everyone working at a home care agency must be fully vaccinated per CMS rules?
Not necessarily. A home care agency, for example Chosen Family Home Care, is different from a home health agency per state and federal regulations. A home health agency provides skilled nursing services to members in the community, normally at their homes.
Are paid family caregivers required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 under the rules and regulations?
Yes, there is no exception for family caregivers under the new Biden policy that has come out which mandates that all employees must be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022. The only way a paid family caregiver could continue to provide care to a family member and get paid under the Medicaid waiver is under the following scenario:
- The home care agency that they work at has fewer than 100 employees
- The home care agency that they are employed at is classified as a home health agency and not a home care agency
- The home care agency has its own policy that allows its caregivers to be unvaccinated
Chosen Family Home Care is a home care agency in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that has fewer than 100 employees, is a home care agency, and has a policy that allows caregivers to be unvaccinated (assuming that their client and/or family member agrees to it). Therefore, Chosen Family Home Care is proud to employ family caregivers and home health aides, regardless of vaccination status.
What is Chosen Family Home Care’s policy on COVID vaccinations for its home health aides and caregivers?
Chosen Family Home Care does not and will not require all of its caregivers to be fully vaccinated against COVID. Chosen Family Home Care also is not required to ensure that all of its caregivers are vaccinated against COVID either. This is because the agency has fewer than 100 employees. Therefore, Chosen Family Home Care does not fall under the federal OSHA mandate that requires all caregivers and home health aides to be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022.
Chosen Family Home Care is also classified as a home care agency and not a home health agency. While this term is often used interchangeably, it has very specific differences under state and federal regulations. Home care agencies provide caregivers that offer non-medical home care services such as personal care, assistance with activities of daily living, light housekeeping, meal preparation, etc. Home health agencies provide skilled care services such as nursing care, and often ALSO provide non-medical care services. Because of this classification, a home health agency would have to require all of its staff to be vaccinated, even those that work in non-medical and personal care such as its caregivers and home health aides.
Does Chosen Family Home Care support its caregivers getting vaccinated?
Absolutely. Chosen Family Home Care takes the health and wellness of all of our home health aides, family caregivers, and home care clients very seriously. Chosen Family Home Care has invested heavily in staff education on the COVID vaccine, prevention measures, and other training tools to help ensure the safety of all of our team members and clients.
However, Chosen Family Home Care has made the decision to not mandate that all of its caregivers get COVID vaccinated. This is because the agency believes that health matters are very personal and individuals are encouraged to make medical decisions on their own terms. As previously mentioned, our team of educators and nurses will continue to educate staff members on the importance of being COVID vaccinated to ensure both their own safety and the safety and well-being of our home care clients. In addition, to providing staff education to overcome vaccine hesitancy, Chosen Family Home Care is dedicated to encouraging that its staff members can be vaccinated by providing resources on vaccine testing sites, paid time off to receive the vaccine, as well as cash bonuses that encourage our caregivers and home health aides to be fully vaccinated.
What if a home care client wants a caregiver to be fully vaccinated at Chosen Family Home Care?
Once again, Chosen Family Home Care takes caregiver and client safety extremely seriously. Our management team has a roster of all staff members and their vaccination status which is updated on a daily basis. The organization goes to great lengths to ensure that clients who only want vaccinated caregivers and home health aides are always paired with a caregiver that is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Wil Chosen Family Home Care employ paid family caregivers and home health aides that are unvaccinated against COVID-19?
Yes, as previously discussed, Chosen Family Home Care proudly employs family caregivers, even if they are unvaccinated. Chosen Family Home Care has many procedures and processes in place to both minimize risk and promote the health and wellbeing of all staff members and clients
Does Chosen Family Home Care require regular testing of its unvaccinated caregivers?
Yes, as we previously discussed, Chosen Family Home Care takes the care of its employees and clients very seriously. As a result, all unvaccinated caregivers are subject to regular testing.
However, there is an important exception to this. Chosen Family Home Care does not require regular COVID testing in scenarios that both the home care paid family caregiver AND the client sign an agreement and waive this testing requirement.
In practice, this usually applies to paid family caregivers that do not want to be COVID vaccinated. Therefore, while we do require regular testing for unvaccinated caregivers, there is the ability for caregivers and their clients to opt-out of this testing requirement.
I am a caregiver (family or otherwise) and I would like to switch agencies to work with Chosen Family Home care. What is the process?
If you and your family member want to change agencies, the process is easy! You can call or text 267.457.4122 to get started right away. You could be a part of the Chosen Family Home Care team in as little as a few days.
Why would I want to work for Chosen Family Home Care?
There are so many reasons to work for Chosen Family Home Care! Our industry leading pay guarantees all caregivers an average of $14 an hour. Add in weekly pay, great benefits, a highly professional work environment, and even the potential for free certified nurse aide training! See our careers page for more details.