DHH promotes in-home care support bills

The state health agency promoted changes Tuesday in some of the laws governing in-home care of the elderly and developmentally disabled.

State Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kliebert outlined proposed bills the agency is supporting during in a telephone interview.

The legislation would make it easier for some receiving in-home care to get the medications they need on a timely basis and offer more flexibility in the type of services which can be delivered, Kliebert said.

Kliebert said the legislation “will make incremental changes ... to improve outcomes.” She said there would be cost-savings as well as improved care for those living in community settings.

The bills would:

Amend the state personal assistance law to provide flexibility for the program to offer different types of services when they are cost effective. This is Senate Bill 498 by Heitmeier and Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego.

Kliebert said the current law covering the personal care attendant program only allows funds to be used on in-home care services, when a simple modification or adaptive device, like a ramp or lift, may be enough to meet the individual’s current needs.

Clarify that the medication administration requirements of the direct service worker law do not apply to individuals in DHH home and community-based programs who self-direct their services, i.e. hire an individual of their choice. This is House Bill 185 by state Rep. Kenny Havard, R-St. Francisville.

Amend certain provisions of law to allow direct service workers to administer insulin under rules and regulations that will be developed by DHH and the State Board of Nursing. this is Senate Bill 499 by state Sen. David Heitmeier, D-New Orleans.

DHH’s legislative package also includes a bill that would require health care providers offer screening for HIV and syphilis to all pregnant women in their third trimester of pregnancy or during labor and delivery under certain circumstances. Senate Bill 309 by state Sen. Sharon Broome, D-Baton Rouge, would expand current law which provides for the screening only during the first trimester.

Pregnant women are allowed to decline the screening.