License Requirements for Home Care in Oklahoma

OPHC1HOME CARE ACT  TITLE 63 OF THE OKLAHOMA STATUTES

 

§63-1-1962. Licenses required – Exemptions

Paragraph B 6. No licensed health care facility, licensed physician, advanced practice registered nurse, physician assistant, or state agency employee acting in the performance of his or her duties shall refer a client for personal care services as defined in paragraph 8 of Section 1-1961 of this title or for companion or sitter services as defined in paragraph 1 of subsection A of Section 1-1972 of this title, except to an agency licensed to provide such services. For purposes of this subsection, “licensed health care facility” shall include acute care hospitals, long-term acute care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, residential care homes, home care agencies, adult day care centers and hospice agencies.

 

§63-1-1972. Regulation of Agencies Providing Companion and Sitter Services – Investigations – Penalties

 Paragraph E. It shall be unlawful for any agency not licensed in accordance with the Home Care Act to advertise or otherwise offer personal care, companion or sitter services, home care services, to use the title “home care agency”, “home health agency”, or “senior care agency”, or to provide personal care, companion or sitter services, or home care services. Such action shall be subject to equitable relief in accordance with Section 1-1967 of this title.

 

Process for Notifying State of Oklahoma About Non-Licensed Agencies Operating in Oklahoma

OPHC1It’s frustrating because we know several critical problems with this:

  1. The quality of care and safety of clients is compromised when non-licensed agencies are the provider;
  2. Many of these licensed agencies will operate without the proper insurance or liability coverage, putting themselves, their staff and clients at substantial risk;
  3. These non-licensed agencies also put the entities who refer to them at risk. Hospitals, rehab centers, social workers and discharge planners are all at risk by having the names of these individuals and agencies on their referral lists;
  4. Because these agencies are not in compliance with licensing, they don’t have the costs connected with licensing to deal with, putting them at a financial advantage over licensed agencies. These costs would include licensing fees for both the Administrator and the agency, TB screenings, background checks, workmen’s comp insurance and taxes.

 

So what steps should we take when we come across one of these people or agencies?

  1. Gather any and all information you can find, including but not limited to:
    • Name of owner/manager/director
    • Location & Phone number
    • Any advertising or social media information
    • Any documentation from a hospital, discharge planner or social worker
  2. Contact David Chennault in the Medical Facilities Division at the State of Oklahoma. His number is 405-271-6576.  He will take it from there.
  3. The Director of the Medical Services Division will send a letter to confront them.
  4. They will then send the information to their legal department for further action.

Wrong Referrals Put Patients and State Licensed Health Agencies at Risk

Discharge planners and 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 and casual conversation. Licensed Agencies oftentimes provide lists of DME providers, home health agencies, local mental health professionals and In-Home Care Providers.

Providing a List 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 ones to a nursing home.  To help families accommodate this difficult situation, most hospitals generated a list of individuals who provide home care. This ‘list practice’ has unfortunately NOT kept up with the ever-changing Health Care laws. The majority of the providers on these lists are uninsured, unlicensed, uncertified and (often unwittingly) operating outside the Federal and State laws thereby bringing legal and financial liability on the referring / cooperating entity.

We are just providing information, how can this be risky?

  • Training and Preparation: There is no formal or approved training of home care providers outside State licensure.
  • State Regulations: The Oklahoma Home Care Act requires that all licensed agencies refer ONLY to other licensed agencies.  It also requires that all individuals who provide in-home personal care be operating under the supervision of a licensed health professional or agency who acts as an employer.
  • IRS/SS/Medicare Withholding: A person who hires an individual is required by the IRS to act as the employer and file a Schedule H & W-2 for the private worker. They are also required to pay SS and Medicare taxes (~15% of pay.) Penalties would apply however as “independent caregiver contractors” are not permitted by current law.
  • Liability for Injury: Patients can be held liable if a household employee is injured in their home. Licensed, insured and bonded agencies bear the risk of employee injuries, 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.  A non-licensed 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 A LICENSED AGENCY?  

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 background investigations and misconduct registry searches to select the most qualified workers.  Recent State changes even notify us of felonies or other charges that occur after employment so that we stay up-to-date and best protect our clients.
  • We oversee the work of our employees to provide the highest quality care and service.

Convenience and Protection!

Protect your clients. Protect your agency.  Refer to licensed agencies.

Directory of Medical Facilities: http://bit.ly/2Bl6osm

Nurse Aide Law Excerpt from Nursing Home Care Act:  http://bit.ly/2DZMnKZ

Home Care Licensure Information

  • 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 care around the clock.

 

Protect your clients. Protect your agency.  Refer to licensed agencies.   

 

Check out these valuable links!

Directory of Medical Facilities: http://bit.ly/2Bl6osm

Nurse Aide Law Excerpt from Nursing Home Care Act: http://bit.ly/2DZMnKZ

Home Care Licensure: http://bit.ly/2DvDCv0