News Local/State

Rule to Get Rid of Home Health Care Overtime Advances

K.L. Cleeton addresses media inside Stratton Building.

K.L. Cleeton addresses media inside Stratton Building in Springfield. WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s new rules restricting overtime pay for home health aids passed a major test Tuesday. Starting August 1, caretakers will be limited to a 45-hour work-week. If people require more care, they’ll have to find an additional worker.

Some families affected by the rule showed up at a hearing in Springfield Tuesday to demonstrate their objections. K.L. Cleeton, 28, lives in Effingham with his parents. He says he made the choice with his parents that they would quit their day jobs and devote themselves to his full-time care.

“Because my disability is so severe, I require 24-hour assistance. If I have an itch, I can’t scratch it. So this is very much my choice,” Cleeton said.

When the new rules kick in, his parents will be limited to 45 hours of on-the-clock work in taking care of him. After that, they’ll have to find an outside worker to fill in the gaps — and figure out to how to replace the lost income.

A news release touted the administration’s “cost saving efforts.” But Fred Flather, chief of staff for the Illinois Department of Human Services, says money is not the driving factor.

“The main thrust of this rule is to enhance customer security and safety by making sure they have enough providers, and that they’re providers are going to be fresh. And the side benefit is, yeah, it’s going to save a little bit of money,” Flather said.