In California, "home health care" means the continued care and treatment of an ill person by part-time, skilled nursing services. Unlike home care, which can be provided by unlicensed lay people, home health care is provided by licensed medical personnel. Home health care providers in California are regulated by several laws and a number of public agencies, such as the California Department of Public Health and the California Licensing and Certification Program.
Home Health Care License
According to California Code 1725, no home health care provider can advertise in the state of California unless the company obtains a license from the California Department of Public Health. In order to obtain a license, a company must show that it can provide skilled nursing services to people in a temporary or permanent residence. The company must have at least one registered nurse on staff who is assisted by home health aides that have been certified by the state of California.
California Revised Code 1728 requires that first-time home health licenses are provisional for a month. At the end of the month, the provider must pass an inspection. In order to pass, the company must provide employment records to the California Department of Public Health. The records should show that the company employs certified home health aides who are supervised by a registered nurse. The provider must also develop treatment plans for all its patients, keep and store detailed medical records on its clients, and keep track of all pharmaceuticals that it provides to its patients.
Agencies Overseeing Home Health Care Providers
Providers are required to work with several government agencies to comply with California regulations. Providers must be prepared for yearly inspections conducted by the California Licensing and Certification Program. Home health care providers must work with the Licensing Program to check on the certification of home health aides and the licensing of nursing assistants. Providers must also meet U.S. Department of Health and Human Services standards before they can receive Medicare payments. These standards require companies to keep detailed medical records and to show through these records that they are providing care to patients who would otherwise be hospitalized or in a nursing home.