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PA Department of Health Begins Landmark Oversight of Home Care Services

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 Medical PDA News J E 4
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HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 14 For the first time, home care agencies and registries must be licensed to operate in Pennsylvania and the home care industry will be regulated by the Department of Health.

Department staff will determine compliance with licensure requirements, identify deficiencies, require plans of correction for identified deficiencies, and investigate complaints.

"Licensure of home care agencies and registries will help to ensure consistent quality for this important aspect of healthcare throughout Pennsylvania," said Secretary of Health Everette James. "These services help thousands of residents remain in their homes or other independent living environments."

Home care agencies provide services which include assistance with self-administered medications, personal care, homemaking, companionship, respite care and other services. Home care registries are companies that provide lists of people who do those services as independent contractors.

Under the new licensure program, home care agencies and home care registries are required to conduct criminal background checks and child abuse clearances on applicable staff, conduct tuberculosis screening for all staff with direct consumer contact, ensure the competency of individuals that provide care, and provide information to consumers.

"The new regulations are the result of an exceptional collaborative effort with the Pennsylvania Homecare Association and the General Assembly," added James. "The regulations will create a standard of care throughout the industry and ensure additional protection for consumers of these critical services."

The Department of Health is now accepting applications for licensing of agencies and registries providing home care services in Pennsylvania.

Entities operating as home care agencies or home care registries, or both, may continue to operate provided they submit applications for licensure to the department within 60 days of Dec. 12, the effective date of the regulations. The application deadline is February 10, 2010. Entities established after Dec. 12, 2009 must obtain a license prior to providing home care services.

For more information, visit www.health.state.pa.us or call 1-877-PA HEALTH.

Media contact: Stacy Kriedeman, 717-787-1783

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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