Dangers of Hospitals Recommending Unlicensed Agencies or Caregivers

OPHC1Discharge planners and hospital social workers work hard to help families ease the transition from hospital to home. Resource sharing is an important part of this transition and generally information is shared via printed lists. Hospitals provide lists of DME providers, home health companies. local mental health professionals and Home Care Providers.

Providing lists of Home Care Providers to patients, without validating licensure is risky business. Many families are instructed by physicians, that their loved one “should not be home alone.” Many of these same families are not interested in sending their loved one to a nursing home. To help families accommodate this difficult situation, most hospitals in Oklahoma have generated lists of individuals who provide in home care. Many of the providers on these lists are unlicensed and uncertified.

You might ask, “We’re just providing information, how is this risky?”

➢ Training and preparation: There is no formal or approved training for home care providers

without licensure. ➢ State Regulations: The Oklahoma Home Care Act requires that all organizations/individuals who

provide personal care at home be licensed, including independent caregivers. ➢ IRS/SS & Medicare Withholding: A patient who hires an independent is required by the IRS to

tile a Schedule H and W~2 for the caregiver. They are also required to pay SS and Medicare taxes (about 15% of pay). Failure to do so could lead to penalties. ➢ Liability for Injury: Patients can be held liable if a household employee is injured in their home. Licensed, insured, and bonded agencies will bear the risk of an injury, so the client is not sued directly by the caregiver. ➢ Abuse, neglect and exploitation: Agencies or individuals who are not licensed by the state are

not held to the standards that the Department of Health deems necessary for providing care in a home setting. An unlicensed provider may (knowingly or unknowingly) be putting a patient’s health in danger. ➢ Background/Health Screening: Non-licensed individuals have no required criminal background

or health screening. ➢ Limited Availability: Most independent caregivers are not available 24/7/365. For the times

during which the caregiver will not work for the patient- who will be there to help out?

Why refer to licensed agencies? Safety

➢ We are required by law to hire and train employees according to accepted standards. With

licensing, comes the assurance of an appropriate level of training and preparation. ➢ We invest the effort to perform extensive interviews, reference checks. criminal history checks,

and misconduct registry checks to select the most qualified workers. ➢ We oversee the work of our employees to provide the highest quality of care and service.

Convenience and Protection.

➢ We are responsible for all payroll, including handling withholding taxes. ➢ Licensed agencies maintain worker’s compensation and liability insurance or bonding. ➢ Licensed agencies can provide staff and on call nursing around the clock

Protect your patients. Protect your hospital. Refer to licensed agencies and individuals.