Licensing, Regulation and Florida Home Health Agencies

May 15, 2012

We notice a lot of passionate discussions online in article and blog comments, about home health agencies and senior care providers.  Many times these conversations surround licensing, regulation and fraud.  Issues such as who regulates various types of agencies, what they pay employees and profit levels come up time and time again.  We know the information can be confusing for families, and even for medical and eldercare professionals.  We hate that some families have had bad experiences and seniors have gotten sub-par care.

Here is an overview of vital information to know in choosing quality home care options:

Some agencies are “Medicare certified” and you can get statistics and information on these agencies at Medicare’s Home Health Compare website.  However, Medicare only covers limited home health services, for conditions which require a skilled nurse or therapist short-term.  Find out about Coverage and limitations of Medicare Skilled Home Health Care.

The biggest confusion comes from the fact that agencies are generally regulated by states, meaning there are differences throughout the country.  You can read about how Florida regulates home health agencies in our post on this topic, with links to the regulatory agencies/information.

Florida regulates three types of agencies (note that private caregivers are not regulated other than for approval of their certification if they have one): homemaker companion companies, nursing registries and home health agencies. Home Health Agencies in Florida have a strict set of standards and regulations.  While some states may do little to regulate non-medical home health services and may, for example, allow a small operator to work from home with little overhead, Florida home health agencies must maintain offices, records, and follow specific procedures.  While this adds challenges and costs to doing business, we support the standards that Florida has set.  By regulating healthcare entities, the state provides a certain baseline of protections.

Regulations and laws only provide the base, however, and quality home care companies work to go beyond those requirements.  For example, there is current legislation to change labor laws to eliminate exemptions that exist (regarding overtime and minimum wage) for companions and “live in” help.  This could affect numerous situations in which “live in” type situations have been created to provide 24 hour care on a daily rate type of basis.  Even with the current exemptions, EasyLiving has always steered away from such arrangements. You can read why EasyLiving doesn’t provide “live in” care situations along with other answers about home care here.

At EasyLiving, we have taken it as our mission to support our team in many ways, so that we can provide the best home care services to the community.  We go beyond regulations because we put people over profits.  You can read a little more from our Executive Director on our mission-driven home care model and keep an eye out for Alex’s upcoming post on our new mission statement.

Want to talk to someone about home care options or general senior care questions?

Contact us any time at 727-447-5845!

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Topics: Financial/Legal

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