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USA Today Reports on State Efforts to Regulate Home Care

December 12, 2013

A USA Today article published on December 8 reports on how some states are trying to legislate more oversight and regulations of non-medical home care.

States Looking to Tighten Rules on Home Care Aides” explains that states are considering measures that include background checks, mandatory training hours, and the licensing of non-medical home care providers. The article highlights efforts currently underway in California, Iowa, and Kentucky.

While there are federal training requirements for home health aides, no such requirements exist for personal care aides — the fastest-growing occupation in the nation.

While some states do have training requirements, “Very few require ‘anywhere near the 75 hours Medicare requires of home health aides,'” Christopher Kelly of the University of Nebraska at Omaha is quoted as saying in the article.

A recent PHI analysis of state training standards in Medicaid-funded personal care programs concurs, finding wide variation in standards from state to state and across programs within states — where they exist at all.

The Personal and Home Care Aide State Training demonstration project (PHCAST) taking place in six states to develop model education and training models is cited in the article. The project, a provision in the Affordable Care Act, is intended to yield information that will be used to make recommendations for national training standards for these workers.

“While better oversight of the nation’s home care workforce through criminal background screening and minimum licensing standards is a good starting place for ensuring that consumers receive high quality long-term services and supports, investing in adequate training for personal care aides is essential to preparing this workforce to care,” said PHI Policy Research Associate Abby Marquand, who conducted the PHI PCA training analysis.

— by Deane Beebe

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