Will We Lose Home Health Care?
Over the next 10 years demand for home health aides is expected to rise more than 40% as the population ages, life expectancy increases for people with disabilities, and patient advocates push to keep the elderly ad disabled out of institutions. But the turnover rate for home care workers is high, in part because on average they earn $5 less per hour than workers in state-run facilities. A new bill in Congress could help remedy the situation by raising the Medicaid reimbursement rates for those caring for the disabled. Similar bills are in the works to address care for the elderly most of who are covered under Medicare instead of Medicaid. But with all the demands on government funds, should we be giving home care aides a raise? “If there aren’t enough workers to help folks live in their homes safely and comfortable, those individuals will have to be institutionalized,” says Rep. Lois Capps (D., Calf.), who co-sponsored the bill. “The cost of patient living in a nursing home is much greater than the cost of providing that care at home or in the community.”
Making Informed Decisions Regarding Your Healthcare Services
American Healthcare Services want you to make an informed decision when choosing home care services. Standards, licensing, safety and integrity are important issues to address. Below are questions to ask as you begin your search for the company that can best provide for you needs.
Does the agency hold a current license from the NC Division of Health Service Regulation? Beware of agencies claiming they have been given special status by DFS in lieu of home care licensure. Licensure ensured the agency meets specific requirements regarding the administration of the agency, staff qualifications and supervision of client care and records. Beware of agencies operating without state licensure. They are limited to providing services that require no hands-on assistance of any kind. Beware of misleading terminology such as “non-medical” care. This term is not defined by the home care licensure rules and is not recognized as a license entity in North Carolina.
How long has the agency served the community? You deserve a good track record and good references. We advise you not to hire staff on your own – when you hire on your own, you have no recourse if something goes wrong.
How are the home care employees selected, screened and trained? Employees in the home need to be certified and listed with the Division of Health Services Regulations.Under the reporting requirements of the Health Care Personnel Registry and should be employees of the agency, not independent contractors.
How is the aide supervised? Licensed agencies have RN supervisors who supervise the aides.
Is a criminal background check done on the in-home employees? Licensed agencies are required to do criminal background checks on all employees that enter a client’s home.
Is the agency a member of its industry’s trade association? Select an agency that is a member of their industry’s professional association – The Association for Home and Hospice Care of North Carolina. Call 800-999-2357 to determine agency membership.
Does a registered nurse design the plan for my care? Licensed agencies must have RNs to assess, manage, and write the plan of care. Beware of entities whose staff is not licensed to make medical observations and assessments. Can my family be involved? YES! The more input and participation the better!
How is care coordinated with my physician? Licensed agencies must secure physician orders where required by law, and licensed agencies always communicate care plans and needs to these physicians where appropriate.
What happens when my needs change? Licensed agencies must always be immediately responsive to changing needs.
How does the agency address concerns and complaints? Licensed agencies must always be immediately responsive to concerns you may have and must document any complaints that you have along with their resolution. Call 800-624-3004, or 919-733-7461, when unable to resolve a concern/complaint with an agency. Unlicensed agencies are unable or unwilling to give you these numbers.
What happens if my aide is ill or unable to come? Agencies should always have plans in place to address covering such absences.
How are privacy and confidentiality ensured? Licensed agencies must be complaint with HIPAA. Beware of an entity that does not know what HIPAA is.
Do I or does the agency pay the staff and pay the payroll taxes? Select an agency that pays the staff as well as the payroll taxes.