Home Care Agencies Now Subject to Increased Regulation in California

On October 15, 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act of 2013. The passage of this Act followed after the veto of a similar bill by the governor last year. It has served as a response to critics who have continually argued that the home health care industry has not been subject to enough regulation and oversight. The loose regulation of this industry has created room for caregivers to engage in acts of neglect and abuse towards their elderly clients, as was demonstrated in a study conducted by the California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes.

The study was released in April 2011, and demonstrated how California failed to screen employees who cared for the elderly in their homes. Some of these caregivers had criminal records, but had not been screened prior to employment. This documentation of elder abuse and neglect resulted in an increased push for tight industry regulations in California. The Act will impact approximately 120,000 caregivers and 1,400 home care agencies, and is representative of an effort being made to protect consumers receiving services within this industry.

Before the Act, agencies in California were only required to obtain a business license in order to offer home care. Home care services encompass providing elderly individuals with non-medical services such as dressing changes, bathing, and assistance with use of the bathroom. However, the passage of the Act will now require home health agencies conduct background checks on their workers and provide workers with five hours of basic training. In addition, agencies will have to engage in annual performance assessments of their employees, supervise the activities employees engage in within their clients’ homes every 90 days, and create a publicly accessible caregiver registry. This home care aide registry will include information such as the caregiver’s name, registration status, and the home care organization to which they are affiliated. Caregivers will also be subject to additional regulations in addition to undergoing background checks. They will have to test for tuberculosis and will be required to obtain certification licenses stating they are in compliance with basic requirements and standards.

As a result, the home care industry lost in their opposition to several measures under the Act. While the industry was in favor of increased regulation, they opposed the background check and training requirements. The governor has sought a delay as to putting the legislation in effect until January 2016.

We entrust caregivers to provide quality care to our elderly loved ones. They are responsible for the health and safety of their patients, and therefore, it is important that these caregivers are screened and qualified. If they are inadequately trained or engage in abusive behavior, they are actively put elderly individuals in danger of harm and injury. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi are all specialists in nursing neglect law. If you believe that your loved one is at risk of elder abuse or neglect, we encourage you to contact us at (888) 606-3453 for a free consultation today. We will fight for your loved one’s rights from the very beginning until a just and agreeable solution has been reached.