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.

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.