Far-Reaching California Home Care Licensing Law Takes Effect
California has enacted a law that became effective as of the first day of 2016. This law will have an impact on the workers employed by home care companies, along with the home care companies themselves. The home care licensing law requires that some companies (not all) that offer non-medical care services in the home obtain a new license. In addition, the home care aides employed by those companies must be both background-checked and individually registered with the state.
The standards impose by this law are intended to benefit clients who use home care workers; however, this is only true if they get such help via licensed home care companies. If you live in San Diego County and receive this kind of assistance in your home from a San Diego County home care company, then knowing the basics of this law could serve you well.
Background and Objective
As Version One of the Written Directives of this law describes it, the primary intention when constructing the law was to protect the disabled or elderly who must receive professional home care. The more stringent regulations were designed to safeguard the vulnerable from negligence and abuse. Making both workers and companies adhere to these regulations is a viable way to reach that goal in most cases. One of the new requirements is that the state offers an online registry to which clients may refer when considering specific workers for home care services.
Understanding the Basics
One of the main changes is that new state licensing is required of certain companies (but not all companies are affected). This licensing must be obtained by way of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) if a company provides clients with workers who perform non-medical home care services. The workers who are employed by these companies are required to be registered with the CDSS, and they must undergo a state-approved background check before they may provide care in the home – they are also required to be trained on the new regulations set forth by the state.
Licensing and Registration: Who Is Required to Do This?
Many of those who offer non-medical home care services are affected by the new law. The relevant services include dressing, bathing, toileting, and other hygiene-related and personal grooming tasks, as well as exercising, positioning, ambulating, and transferring. Other tasks include shopping for groceries or items of personal care, doing laundry, providing transportation, assisting with correspondence, planning for or providing meals, and housekeeping.
Workers known as “Home Care Aides” are specifically affected by the new law.
Companies that EMPLOY Home Care Aides are required to undergo licensure before they may dispatch their employees to provide the relevant services in clients’ homes. Under the law, these companies are called Home Care Organizations.
Home Care Companies are subject to rigid regulations related to licensing. They may be audited at any time by the state with an on-site inspection to ensure adherence to the new regulations.
Companies that ARE NOT the EMPLOYERS of Home Care Aides do not need to obtain licensing. These companies, which are usually called referral agencies or registries, are NOT ALLOWED to get a Home Care Organization license.
Additionally, licensed home health care agencies, which may employ workers who provide skilled nursing or similar medical services in the home, ARE ALLOWED to get licensed like Home Care Organizations. In fact, some companies of this sort will go through the licensing process simply to give clients the assurance that they are licensed Home Care Organizations.
Accredited Home Care is licensed as a Home Care Organization in San Diego County!
Summary of Who Must Be Registered/Licensed
- Must Be Registered Home Care Aides offering non-medical (“private duty”) services need to be listed with an online, statewide registry if they work in clients’ homes and are sent to those homes by a company that employs them. They will pay a registration fee, undergo state-mandated training yearly, and be TB-checked; and they must pass a criminal background check (the check is fingerprint-based).
- Must Be Licensed Home Care Organizations must get official licensing through CDSS. Their staff members (and owners) are required to meet the same TB clearance background-checking as the Home Care Aides are required to meet.
Companies and Workers Exempt From the Licensing Regulations
If they are not under the employ of a Home Care Organization, home care workers are not required to get registered or be background-checked. They can do this, but they are not mandated to do it.
If they are not legally regarded as Home Care Organizations, companies are not mandated to follow the licensing requirement. These legally exempt organizations include retirement communities that give continuing care, residential care facilities that assist seniors, licensed home health care agencies (not the same thing as Home Care Organizations), hospice agencies, employment agencies, health facilities, and county service providers.
Consider This If You Need Home Care Services
Clients who require home care services should exercise much caution because of the loopholes associated with this law. The reason this law was created was to offer protection to clients, and this protection could be circumvented if you are not careful.
If you hire someone from a non-employer organization, that worker is not subject to the TB testing, background check, or registration that those employed by Home Care Organizations must adhere to.
If you live in San Diego County and require home care services, be sure to hire an employee of a licensed Home Care Organization. Hiring someone privately or via a non-licensed agency or company could put you at risk of negligence (or even bad acts), and this is what the law was created to prevent. Every client deserves proper protection under the law.
Photo by Justin Brockie