When you launch your home healthcare business, there are a zillion things to accomplish, including obtaining a license. To safeguard the public and make sure they receive the best medical and nursing care, the US healthcare sector is subject to strict regulations. Therefore, your agency is at a loss without a license.
A home health care agency must have a license to provide both non-medical and skilled nursing services in the majority of states. Unfortunately, the procedure for applying for a license varies by state. Therefore, you must familiarize yourself with state laws, the licensing procedure, the time it takes for approval, and the frequency of license renewals before starting your home health care business.
Only four US states currently don’t require a license to start a home health care agency:
The other states require a license inspection conducted by state officials or an accrediting body. Most states allow home health care agency owners to receive a provisional license followed by an assessment, but 18 states require an inspection visit first. After that, follow-up inspections may occur one, two, or three years later, depending on the state.
Furthermore, 14 states stipulate that home health care facilities file a Certificate of Need (CON) before proceeding. These certificates help state authorities control excess supply in the health care market by evaluating local demand before allowing a new facility or agency to open.
The home health care license application usually requires details about the business structure and criminal background checks of the management staff. In most cases, the agency must provide its National Provider Identification (NPI) number and proof of professional and liability insurance.
There are also different training requirements for nurses and caregivers. All registered nurses and licensed practical nurses must be registered to practice in the states in which your agency operates. However, training and certification requirements for caregivers are different in each state, some of which have no formal training requirements.
Here’s a look at the steps involved in how to get a home health care business license.
1. Choose Between Medical vs. Non-Medical
The type of services you provide could change the type of license you need and how you get it. For example, to offer medical services like medication administration, you’ll need to hire medical professionals before you begin the process of licensing. However, this comes with more liability for your business.
You could stick to non-medical services and provide companionship or other daily activity assistance. Some states will still require skilled medical professionals to be hired to meet the requirements for a license for non-medical home care agencies.
2. Find Out Your State Requirements
Whether you’re looking to offer medical services or operate as a non-medical home care provider, there are several steps to take before accepting clients. First, research what your state requires. Not all states require licenses for home care. CareAcademy finds three that don’t: Iowa, Massachusetts, and Michigan You can typically find these requirements on the Secretary of State’s website.
Depending on your state’s requirements, you’ll need to attend training, and state officials or an accrediting body will perform inspections. The process of getting your business license can take three to 18 months, depending on your state. Some states will provide you with a provisional license during the process. States with an increase in applications for home care licenses might take longer.
There are 18 states that require an inspection visit before receiving a provisional license for non-medical home care or home health care companies. Then, after that first inspection, follow-up inspections occur every so many years, again depending on the state.
More than a dozen states require home health care agencies to file a Certificate of Need before applying for a business license. This certificate helps state authorities monitor the supply of providers in the health care market. It evaluates the local demand before allowing a new facility or agency to open. Apply for your certificate of need first, before your license, just in case you need to reconsider your territory.
A benefit to owning an A Place At Home franchise is our market research. We know what areas and territories a home care agency can thrive in. All our base franchise unit territories have 40,000 qualified senior residents.
3. Create a Business Plan
For some license registrations, you’ll include a business plan. Generally, it’s good to have one completed before you finalize your business setup anyway. Your business plan will outline core business activities and how you plan to achieve goals. These documents include an executive summary, products, and services offered, a market analysis, marketing strategy, financial planning, financial projections, and a budget.
4. Register Your Business With the State
Before you move on to getting your license for your non-medical home care agency, register with your state through the Secretary of State and the State Department of Revenue Services. Typically, this step is as easy as filing your business name with the state and local governments.
5. Set Up an Office
Secure an office space for your business. You’ll need locked cabinets to store client and company records. In addition, most license applications will require you to include a copy of your lease.
Only a small executive suite is necessary when you become an A Place At Home franchise owner. It allows you to perform private, professional interviews with your care staff members.
6. Follow State Training Requirements
Study the mandated training for you and your employees. The requirements vary by state. Ensure it’s all completed fully before applying for a home health care license. Most states require everyone to have CPR/AED training, even if you’re a non-medical home care agency. Caregivers have specific training requirements to follow.
7. Apply For Your Home Health Care License
Finally! Once you’ve completed all the previous steps, you have made it to the end of our guide on how to get your home health care business license. You can submit your license application. Fill out all the necessary forms and provide the proper materials to your state to receive your licensing.