I've been a home health nurse now for about five years. One of the biggest complaints I have has been "why am I working so much and not getting paid for my time?" I searched through the various posts on this thread and I see that other home health nurses are having the same complaint. Last night, I did some research on the Wage/Labor site and found something interesting. Evidently, in 2004 President Bush changed the overtime laws for certain segments of the workforce. If an employee is salaried or paid on a "fee-basis", then they are not entitled to overtime. What does "fee-basis" mean? It means that no matter how many hours it takes to complete the tasks involved for that fee-paid visit, a home health nurse does not get overtime. We don't get paid for the ridiculous drive times, calling our patients to set up the appointments, all of the doctor calls, faxes and follow-ups. Most good home health nurses will agree that they put (on average) ten hours/day into their jobs. Most agencies require 6 visits/day. That is approximately 4 hours of work not being paid to the nurse.
Now that I "have seen the light" in this matter, I am at a cunundrume (???? spelling) about what can be done to change this situation other than to leave home health entirely. Most, if not all, home health agencies are skirting the overtime issue by taking up this "fee-basis" paid-per-visit (bullpuckey). For starters, I have written a letter to President Obama this morning. Are there any other suggestions other than just plain leaving home health? My personal opinion on this "fee-basis" overtime exemption is that it may have been geared to employees or contract personnel who are obviously getting paid an exhorbitantly higher fee for their services than the run-of-the-mill home health nurse. What are your thoughts?