TOPEKA, Kan. (Legal Newsline) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked a federal appeals court on Tuesday to reverse regulations by the U.S. Department of Labor, which he said would threaten home health care availability in the state.
A lower court has already blocked the new regulations, and Schmidt asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to affirm the court's decision in a friend-of-the-court brief.
He argued the Department of Labor overstepped its authority by limiting services home health care workers can provide and requiring overtime pay for those workers. Schmidt said eight other state attorneys general joined him in signing the brief.
“Once again a federal government agency is issuing regulations in an area that Congress gave them no authority to regulate,” Schmidt said. “These new rules will put a tremendous burden on Kansas senior citizens and their families who hire home health workers, and the result in parts of Kansas will be that needed services become less available.
"This rule also amounts to another unfunded mandate on the states, which fund a significant number of home health care workers through their Medicaid programs.”
The brief argues Congress already exempted the workers from federal overtime rules, and regulations limiting the services the workers can provide undermines the objective set by Congress, which is to allow seniors to receive care in their homes rather than going to more costly institutional care.