Complicated, Comprehensive Home Care Licensing Law Goes Into Effect
The State of California passed a law that went into effect on 1-1-16. This law affects clients who use home care services, the workers who provide them, and the companies that hire those workers. It requires new state licensing of some companies providing non-medical home care (but not all companies fall under that requirement). The companies who hire home care aides must use only workers who have been background-checked and registered by the state.
This law is beneficial to people who depend on home care workers, but this is only applicable when the workers are hired by licensed home care companies. If you know someone in the San Gabriel Valley who relies on in-home caregivers in the San Gabriel Valley, an exploration of the law should be helpful.
Background and Objective of the Law
In reference to the first version of the law’s Written Directives, the primary objective in creating it was to ensure the protection of vulnerable individuals who get professional home care assistance. This goal can be generally achieved when home care workers and companies are held accountable to the standards set forth by the law. Clients can check the licensing status of home care companies with a new statewide registry available online.
Basics of the New Law
Companies that provide clients with non-medical home care must be licensed with the California Department of Social Services. These companies may hire only workers who have passed a background check with the state, and the aides must be registered according to the new law. They must also go through state-required training that educates them on the new regulations.
Licensing and Registration: Who Is Required to Do This
Companies and their employees who provide home care services (that are non-medical) are particularly affected by the law. These services involve transportation, telephone calls, correspondence, laundry, shopping for personal care products and groceries, meal preparation and planning, and housekeeping. They also involve ambulating, positioning, transferring, exercising, hygiene-related activities such as personal grooming, toileting issues such as incontinence, dressing, and bathing. Under the new law, “Home Care Aides” is the term used to describe professionals who provide these services.
The law mandates that companies that EMPLOY Home Care Aides must obtain licensing in order to hire such employees. These companies are called Home Care Organizations.
The requirements to which these companies must adhere to obtain licensing are very tough and specific. Additionally, to ensure that Home Care Organizations follow the law’s requirements, they will be subject to unannounced, on-site inspections.
One loophole of this law is that companies that DO NOT EMPLOY Home Care Aides (but act simply as referral agencies or registries) are not required to undergo proper licensing. These companies are NOT EVEN ALLOWED to be licensed as such, and they are not recognized as Home Care Organizations under the law.
Home health care agencies, which are companies that offer medical services such as nursing, are also not required by the new law to obtain licensing as Home Care Organizations – even when they employ home care workers who are sent to help clients in their homes. These companies may apply for a license if they wish, and they may do that to demonstrate that they are Home Care Organizations that have been licensed.
Accredited Home Care is licensed both as a Home Health Care Agency and as a Home Care Organization in the San Gabriel Valley!
Who Must Be Licensed/Registry: A Summary
- Those registered Home Care Aides that are employed by Home Care Organizations and provide “private duty”, non-medical home care services must list themselves with a state registry online. They must pass a criminal background check that involves being fingerprinted, and they are required to pay a registration fee. They are also required to go through yearly training mandated by the state, and they must pass a TB check.
- Licensed Home care Organizations are required to be officially licensed through CDSS. Their office staff – as well as the owners – are also required to adhere to the same TB check and background check required of Home Care Aides.
Home Care Workers: They do not need to be background-checked or registered unless they are in the employ of a Home Care Organization. They may choose to be registered individually, but the law does not require them to do it.
Organizations: They do not legally need to be licensed if they are not Home Care Organizations. The companies exempt from this regulation include licensed home health care agencies, hospice agencies, retirement communities providing continuing care, residential care facilities that care for the elderly, employment agencies, county service providers, and health facilities.
What You Should Look Out for When You Consider Home Care Services
Because of the various exemption loopholes, you should be very careful when hiring home care workers. If you do not hire employees from a licensed Home Care Organization, you or a loved one could be vulnerable to the very abuse and neglect that the law was created to prevent.
Non-employer organizations, such as referral agencies and registries, are not required to obtain proper licensing. The workers they may send to you are not required to be registered, background-checked, or checked for TB.
If you require home care in the San Gabriel Valley, your best strategy would be to get home care services only through a licensed Home Care Organization such as Accredited Home Care. Otherwise, you will not enjoy the protection from negligence or bad acts that the new law seeks to provide. Every home care client deserves this sort of protection under the law.
Photo by Justin Brockie