Home Health Care Guide for California

I. Regulations for California Home Health Aide Workers

Health care facilities in California are highly regulated at the state and federal levels. In addition to state regulating agencies, California has a number of public and private agencies which routinely inspect the home health care agencies.

In order to be a Home Health Aide worker in California you must be certified by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Licensing and Certification Program. The following legislature comes from the Health and Safety Code Section 1725-1742.

II. How To Become Certified as a Home Health Aide in California

In order to become certified as a Home Health Aide in California, you must successfully complete a training program with a minimum of 75 hours, or an equivalent competency evaluation program approved by the CDPH. These training programs can be provided through a local community college, home health aide agency, or a number of state provided free programs. Once you have passed the training program, you also need to obtain a criminal record clearance.

The California Department of Health provides a list of free or low cost home health aide training programs in the state. This seven page pdf lists over 300 opportunities for home health aide training at universities, health care facilities, community education centers and continuing education programs.

The California Department of Public Health provides a resource of licensing and certification forms, which can be found here:

The Home Health Aide certificate will expire two years after it was initially approved, on the certificate holder’s birthday. In order to maintain a certificate, the Home Health Aide must renew the certificate every two years, and receive another criminal record clearance. The state of California provides a renewal form for this certificate.

If a Home Health Aide does not renew a certificate within four years after its expired, the certificate cannot be renewed, restored, reissued, or reinstated. The only way to renew a certificate after four years is to complete a second certification training program.

III. How to Find a California Home Health Care Aide

Throughout the web you can find multiple directory listings for Home Health Care workers in CA. For example, Care Pathway has a directory for “Cities With Non-Medical (Private Pay) Agencies” and “Cities Which Include Medical (Medicare/Medicaid) Agencies.” Use this resource to search for HHA by area code.

IV. How To Choose the Best CA Home Health Aide for Your Loved One

The California Department of Public Health has a L&C Certification Verification Search Page which allows you to search for whether or not your Home Health Aide (HHA) has a current certification in California. This is a great step to complete after you’ve interviewed a few candidates.

When choosing an HHA, it’s good to tailor your questions to meet the CDPH regulations. For example,

  • How many hours of training do you have as a Home Health Aide?
    • They should have a minimum of 75 hours
  • Could you provide me with a current certificate verifying your training?
    • Make sure to store their first name, last name or certificate number so you can later verify their certification with the CDPH Verification Search Page
    • This certificate must be current within the last two years
  • When was the last time you passed a criminal background check?
    • This must be valid within the last two years
  • What types of tasks do you do regularly? What types of tasks are you uncomfortable doing?
    • Finding out what they do regularly helps you assess how much experience they have. Also, it’s important to know what they’re uncomfortable with in case your needs are outside of their experience.
  • How long have you been a practicing HHA in California?
  • Try to play out a few situations they may come across while caring for your loved one. Do their answers make you feel confident in their ability as a caretaker?

V. California HHA Regulating Agencies

There are often multiple agencies that regulate the Home Health Care industry in each state. In California, there are two primary agencies that have jurisdiction over home health care workers.

The primary state laws, regulations and compliance are directed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Licensing and Certification Program. The CDPH Licensing and Certification Program also oversees the certification of nurse assistants, home health aides, and the licensing of nursing home administrators.

The CDPH also collaborates with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). These two agencies work together to  verify that facilities accepting Medicare and Medi-Cal payments meet federal requirements.

Sources
Section 1725-1742
California Department of Public Health
Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services

Photo Credit By Magnus A.