In California, there is no license required to operate an in-home care (homecare) agency.
This has created a situation of risk for the elderly and disabled persons, receiving services at home.
Caregivers (also called home care aides, personal attendants, companions) may or may not be trustworthy or reliable.
Seniors are vulnerable to abuse and fraud, and currently there is no control as to whom provide services.
Beware of agencies that claim to be “Licensed.”
There is no such licensure in California, and those businesses are misrepresenting a city business license (a fee to do business in a city), with a license to practice a certain type of work, i.e., home care.
Many agencies, including BrightStar, are reputable and operate legitimate businesses with qualified care providers.
These agencies will conduct background checks, drug screening, work reference checks, physical exams, TB test, verify certifications, and appropriate training.
Quality agencies have general and professional liability, worker’s compensation insurance and bonding for all caregivers.
However, many businesses that offer in-home care services do not follow these basic rules; they are what we call the ‘underground.’
Unfortunately, in-home care is rarely covered by insurance (only by Long Term Care insurance) and is paid out of pocket.
Neither Medicare nor Medi-Cal pays for in-home care (except for IHSS).
Without insurance coverage, there is high price sensitivity.
Underground agencies without an actual office and without the burden of hiring qualified employees have an (unfair) price competitive advantage.
Senate Bill 411 (Senator Price) aims at creating a license for home care providers.
While all stakeholders may not yet agree on some of the specifics of the bill, the goal is to protect the most vulnerable population when they receive non-medical care services at home.
We just need to make sure that this bill does not impose excessive burden on existing, legitimate agencies and further drive business to the underground agencies.
If approved, the new bill will take effect January 1st, 2013.