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LeadingAge's Legal Team provides technical assistance and policy guidance on legislation, regulations, court cases and other legal issues affecting aging services providers.

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Protections for Companionship Services Extended by U.S. Labor Department

Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, workers who provide companionship services to the elderly and who are employed by home care or other third-party agencies will be entitled to the minimum wage and overtime protections afforded by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) under a final rule issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on Sept. 17.

Hospice Extraordinary Circumstance Exemption Extended by CMS

The period of time for hospices to qualify for an "extraordinary circumstance" exemption when they believe the nursing shortage has affected their ability to hire sufficient numbers of nurses directly has been extended until Sept. 30, 2016, by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

OIG Releases Proposed Rule on Providing Free or Discounted Transportation

The Office of the Investigator General released a proposed rule to apply safe harbor criteria equally to all eligible entities offering the eligible forms of free or discounted local transportation services. However, the OIG is considering whether to exclude free transportation to referral sources by home health agencies from safe harbor treatment.

HIPAA Audits to be Used as Enforcement Tool by OCR

A senior official with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that the forthcoming round of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) audits will be used by OCR to launch investigations into whether providers and their business associates are complying with the HIPAA privacy and security rules.

Controlled Substances Disposal Final Rule Published by DEA

The long-awaited final rule governing the disposal of controlled substances was published by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on Sept. 9. The rule became effective on Oct. 9.