Are you about starting a home healthcare agency and need a business license? If YES, here are the requirements and process for getting a home care license.

Would you like to start a business where you can help people and also impact positively in their lives, then a home care business may just be for you. There’s never been a better time to do so. In fact, home health care is one of the largest growing industries, not just in the united states of America, but around the world.

In just the United States, the home health care industry is an $84 billion industry. From the year 2010 to 2015, the home health care industry has seen a growth of four percent. This growth is due, in large part, to an aging U.S. population. The population aged 65 years and older is expected to increase from 12.4 percent in 2000 to 19.6 percent by 2030.

The growth of the industry can also be seen from a societal and political perspective, including a growing acceptance among physicians of the practice of home care, as well as pressure to alleviate the demands placed on hospitals and an overall desire to find cost efficiencies in the health care system.

As at present, there are more than 386,000 home health care businesses in America and there are over 1.7 million people that are employed by this industry.

With a low barrier to entry and a growing demand, it is an appealing business for eager entrepreneurs. But because of this, there is often tough regional competition which will need to be planned for if a new venture is going to be successful.

The Home health care business field is quite broad and this means that not all home health care personnel do the same thing. The field covers both skilled home health care as well as non-medical home health care.

  • Non-medical home health care involves assisting your clients with basic daily tasks. Simple things like cooking, shopping, cleaning and going to appoints can be quite a challenge to senior citizens, people with chronic medical conditions and patients recovering from surgery.

Even though home care business helps people of all ages, a lot of their clients consist of people of older age. As the baby boomer generation age, the industry is expected to grow significantly larger.

  • Skilled home health care, on the other hand, involves nursing or therapeutic services delivered in the patient’s own home which would ordinarily be provided in a hospital or medical clinic.

How to Get License for a Home Health Care Business

  • Things to Consider Before Starting a Home Healthcare Business

Even though this business presents a lot of opportunities, it is not suitable for everyone. Home healthcare business is froth with intense pressure and can be stressful.

This business will be best suited for people who are interested in helping others. Home health care personnel usually have to spend a lot of time with their clients and it is very important that they should build a good relationship with their clients.

In addition, business owners should possess self discipline and should be organized. They will be expected to help their clients with a lot off tasks and as such, they should be able to prioritize their duties appropriately in order to satisfy their customers.

4 Challenges of Running a Home Healthcare Business:

If as the business owner you are also going to be one of the key service providers, there are some unique challenges to providing home health care that should be weighed carefully before entering the field.

1. Long distance travel: home health care is convenient for clients and not for the caregiver. Most home health care providers will see six to eight patients in a day; if the region is geographically large, that could mean lots of travel, which can cause stress and fatigue. If you are the type of person who finds travel stressful, this may be something to consider before launching a home health care business.

2. Technological upkeep and maintenance: one of the many reasons that has led to the increased popularity of home health care in the last decade is the technological advancements that have allowed high tech medial equipments that were only available in the hospitals to be made available at homes.

However, because so much of modern home health care relies on high-tech equipment, keeping up with the latest technology and managing this equipment is something that a business owner will have to be comfortable with. In order to thrive in this business, you will have to be tech savvy and be able to adapt to new innovations.

3. Working in isolation: one of the major advantages of providing health care in a hospital or clinic is that you will have a lot of colleagues who you can interact with, consult or ask for help when the need arises. Home health care providers on the other hand usually work on their own, without having this advantage that people who work in hospitals and clinics have. This type of work environment is something that one would need to be comfortable with in order to do the job successfully.

4. Medical accreditation and licensing: In order to start a home health care business, you will need to get some certain certificates and licenses:

  • Home Health Aid Licensing (HHA)

An HHA license is required for a person working for a home health agency or hospice that performs home health services ordered by a licensed physician, chiropractor, podiatrist, or optometrist. Certification and Licensure.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, home health aides who work for agencies that are funded by Medicare or Medicaid must meet minimum standards of training. These standards include undergoing 75 hours of training, in addition to 16 hours of supervised practical work, plus passing a competency evaluation or state certification program. In some states, additional training may be required.

A license is offered by the National Association of Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). However, it is not a prerequisite for employment.

On the average, home health care aids earn about $9.22 per hour, which is equal to about $18,000 per annum (assuming a full-time, 40-hour work week). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the mid-range is from $7.81 to $10.98 per hour,.

  • Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA)

A CNA license is required for an individual that is operating a personal health care business that is not prescribed by a doctor. In addition to assisting clients with normal day-to-day activities, a CNA can also bathe clients and remind them to take prescribed medication.

How to Get Your Nursing Assistant License in 5 Steps

As soon as you confirm that you meet the basic requirements for getting a CNA license, you can then being the process. Here is a step by step guide on how to obtain this license.

a. Complete an Approved Training Program: the very first step to obtaining this license will be to complete a training program that has been approved by the CNA. These programs are offered in a variety of settings such as high schools, community colleges, vocational schools, and the Red Cross. You should find an institution close to you that offers the program, verify that the program is recognized by the state nursing board and then start and complete it.

You need to apply for your license within a specific time frame after completing your training and continue on to steady employment as a certified nursing assistant in order to maintain your license. Keep these things in mind when deciding when to start your CNA training.

b. Submit Your Application: Next, you will need to submit your license application. Usually, the application is a two paged document and you will need to fill in information such as your name, address, phone number, social security number, driver’s license or state ID number, height, weight, hair color, eye color, criminal background, and whether you have had any adverse action taken against you by a health-related licensing, certification, or disciplinary authority.

You will also need to include information about the CAN training program which you did such as – in which institution you did your training, when you completed it, and the program ID number (if applicable). You will need to submit a document showing completion of your CNA training program or have it sent directly by your school to your state’s nursing board or licensing authority.

c. Submit Your Fingerprint: Along with your application (or in some states, before you even submit your application), you will need to submit your fingerprint for an extensive thorough background check. The essence of submitting a finger print is to verify if the applicant has had any criminal conviction, irrespective of if it was in the past or recently.

In that vein, it is very important that you fill your application honesty. If you answer no to having any criminal convictions, and your fingerprint check reveals otherwise, your application will be considered fraudulent and will be denied.

There are some types of criminal convictions that may not pose any threat to your chances, such as traffic violations and minor citations or those that happened over seven to ten years ago. On the other hand, felonies such as murder, manslaughter, assault with intent to kill, sexual assault, and domestic violence, on the hand, will prevent you from getting your license. Your state’s nursing board will review other felonies to determine whether you are eligible to get your license.

d. Pay Processing Fees: when submitting you application, you will need to pay some fees. These fees include an application fee, fingerprint check fee, and examination fee. If you are already working as an aide or in another area of healthcare, you may be able to get your employer to cover your fees for certification. In some states, your employer must pay some or all of your fees.

e. Pass the Certification Exam: next, you will need to sit for and pass the certification exam. The certification exam is broken into two parts: written and clinical.

The written part of the exam (sometimes referred to as the theoretical) is made of multiple-choice type questions with one correct answer. You will have a space of 90 minutes to answer 60 questions (the number of questions and time allotment can vary from state to state).

The clinical part of the exam involves performing an assigned set of specific skills. This usually involves five skills including hand washing and indirect care. The time you have to perform these skills vary based on the activities you are assigned to perform, but usually the total time for this portion of the exam will be 30 – 40 minutes.

Granted, you do not need to get a perfect score in order to pass, but you will still have to prove that you are competent enough to handle the questions that the nurse aide evaluator will be using to score your performance. The five skills will be chosen from a total of 22 – 23 tasks. Examples include:

  • Ambulating the patient using a transfer/gait belt.
  • Assisting the patient to use a bedpan.
  • Changing bed linens while the patient is still in bed.
  • Changing the patient’s position to side-lying.
  • Dressing a patient with a weak arm.
  • Emptying the contents of a patient’s urinary drainage bag, and measuring and recording the output.
  • Feeding a patient sitting in a chair.
  • Measuring a patient’s radial pulse.

You will be given a total of three chances to pass each section of the CAN exam. If you are unable to pass both portions of the exam within two years of completing your CNA training, you will need to take the CNA training program again and re-start the application process once it is completed.

As soon as you pass your CNA exam, you will be certified immediately. However, you will not receive a certificate immediately; it should come within a couple of weeks after you have passed the exam.

Alternative CNA Licensing Paths

If you already have some form of experience or training, you may be able to get a license without having to go through the same path as a new nurse aid applicant. For instance, if you are a graduate nurse, you will not have to take the CNA training, however, you will still need to seat for the CAN licensing exam.

RNs and LPNs are also not required to take the CAN training program or licensing exam. When in doubt if you have education, training, or other certifications that may make it necessary for you to go through the standard license application process, contact your state’s nursing board or CNA licensing.

Ajaero Tony Martins