The role of regulation is to protect the consumer. The regulations governing skilled facilities such as nursing homes have become much stricter over time. Home care regulations are heading the same way. This legislation is due, in part, to Government responding to seniors' desire to age in their own homes. It's also a response to health, safety, consumer rights and the protection of a vulnerable segment of the population.
Some states are further ahead than others in their regulation of home care providers. Delaware, for example, is further ahead than Pennsylvania. Delaware distinguishes between those non-medical home care providers that have full-time professional medical staff (Home Health Agency – Aide Only) and those that do not (Personal Assistant Services Agencies). Pennsylvania only recently introduced Home Care licensing and there is no regulatory differentiation between those with these professional skills and those without them.
Until June 2010 providers of non-medical in-home care in Pennsylvania were not required to be licensed. So anyone could come into your home and claim to be competent. Now all providers are required to be licensed. That’s the good news. The bad news is that you don’t seem to need to be smarter than a 5th Grader to get a PA license.
DELAWARE—First State, First Rate!
In Delaware there are two types of non-medical home care companies: Unskilled under a Medical Model (Home Health Agency – Aide Only) and Personal Assistant Service Agencies. The former requires a full time RN Clinical Director and RN Supervision.
Needless to say the PASA license is a much easier license to obtain and is predominantly made up of franchises. In Delaware we are licensed as a Home Health Agency-Aide only.
The difference between the two States' approaches is very simple:
Pennsylvania provides broad guidelines and rules for operating an home care business. Fill out the application form, tick the boxes, a two week process.
Delaware wants to see your detailed policy and procedures and how they meet their strict and very specific state regulations. They are particularly prescriptive about what you can do, to whom you can do it and how you can do. A three month process at least.
We believe that regulation plays a role in safeguarding home care recipients and ensuring the degree of professionalism that is expected by the American consumer.