New California Law Protects Home Care Consumers
Starting January 1, 2016, the Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act (California Assembly Bill AB1217) went into effect. This new law is enforced by the California Department of Social Services’ (CDSS) newly created Home Care Services Bureau and was designed to protect home care consumers from unscrupulous home care providers by requiring all agencies that provide non-medical home care services to be licensed by the state and to use only home care aides who are registered in the state database. Prior to AB1217, there were no licensing requirements for companies or individuals providing home care services, i.e. those that provide non-medical care such as companionship, assistance with activities for daily living (ADLs), light housekeeping or incidental transportation to elderly and disabled individuals.
In order to provide these home care services, an agency must now be licensed and all of their caregivers must be registered with the CDSS Home Care Aide Registry and pass a Live Scan fingerprinting/ criminal background check, among other requirements. Independent caregivers must be registered as well. A major requirement for licensing states that an agency cannot employ caregivers as independent contractors. It must be an employer/employee relationship. This means that the agency is responsible for the screening, supervision, scheduling and oversight of the caregivers they place in their client’s homes. The agency is also responsible for paying payroll taxes and complying with all applicable wage and labor regulations. The Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act also requires all agencies to provide ongoing training on safety, emergency procedures, infection control and other topics related to the care of the seniors and disabled individuals.
Home care providers who misclassify caregivers as independent contractors will be unable to obtain a license since this employer model does not meet the state requirements. This type of home care provider (registries and referral companies) also places undue burdens and risks on the home care consumer.
When selecting home care providers for you or your loved one, it is important to look for an agency that is licensed through the California Department of Social Services. A licensed agency carries the appropriate insurance, workers compensation policy and employee bonding. Licensed agencies will also have caregivers that are employees (not contractors), Live Scan fingerprinted/ criminal background checked, screened for tuberculosis and trained in the required caregiver skills and procedures.
Affinia Home Care is in compliance with this new law and, along with our caregivers, ready to provide the home care people need. Please feel free to call us at (949) 505-2585 or visit www.affiniahomecare.com for additional information.