On March 26, 2019, in a 5-2 ruling, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of providers in a critical decision affecting home health care. Andryeyeva v. N.Y. Health Care, Inc. and Moreno v. Future Care Health Servs. et al. was a joint appeal in a case that threatened to eviscerate an important economic constraint on the cost of providing live-in 24-hour home care, and which placed at risk the fiscal integrity of New York’s Medicaid program and the very existence of New York’s home care industry.
Home health aides challenged the New York State Department of Labor’s (DOL) 13-hour rule, which provides that live-in employees must be paid for at least 13 hours per 24-hour period, provided they are afforded at least eight hours of sleep, five hours of which must be uninterrupted, and three hours for meal times. If the aides are given the required sleep and meal times, totaling 11 hours, they are not paid for these breaks. In this case, home health aides argued that they were entitled to minimum wage for all 24 hours of their shifts, regardless of whether they were afforded opportunities for sleeping and eating. Providers long had relied on DOL’s interpretation when compensating their employees, and were suddenly in jeopardy of being held liable for retrospective pay exceeding an estimated $4.8 billion.
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