Home health care is highly regulated in the state of Georgia. The Georgia Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation Division oversees home health, and governance falls under the following statutes: O.C.G.A. § 31-7-150 and O.C.G.A. § 31-2-8.
Not only are agencies required to obtain a license, but they must first obtain a certificate of need in order to be eligible. Licenses must be renewed each year at a cost of $1,000. Licensure can be obtained from the Georgia Department of Community Health, and the application packet can be found here. Fees and requirements are outlined in detail in the General Licensing and Enforcement Requirements.
For more information, please review the Georgia Home Health Agency Rules and Regulations.
How to Become a Home Health Aide in Georgia
The state does not have training requirements for home health aides. However, taking a training course or receiving certification can broaden your career opportunities as a home health aide. Certain home health agencies may require additional training and competencies, especially those covered by Medicare and Medicaid.
If you’re just starting out, one of the best ways to get experience and training as a home health aide is by working at a home health agency. Most agencies will require a certain level of training for home health aides, but this is often provided by the agency itself.
To work at a Medicare-certified home health agency, you must meet the minimum standard of 75 hours of training and 16 hours of practical work. As stated above, this type of training is usually provided on the job once you’re employed.
Home Health Aide Certification
The National Association of Home Care & Hospice offers a nationally-recognized home health aide certification program. The program includes training, skills evaluation, and a written exam. For more information about the NAHC home health aide certification program, call (202) 547- 7424.
Nurse Aide Certification
While home health aides are not required to be certified nurse aides, some agencies will require this higher level of training. These programs are more in-depth than the typical coursework for home health aides, and may be beneficial for career advancement. For more information about becoming a certified nursing aide (CNA) and registering on the state’s Nurse Aide Registry, visit the Department of Community Health’s Nurse Aide System.
Home Health Aide Jobs in Georgia
As the Georgia baby boomer population ages, the need for home health aides will continue to increase. As such, there are ample opportunities for those pursuing a career in home health services.
The following online job sites can help you find a home health aide job:
How to Find a Home Health Aide in Georgia
There are several options for locating home health care providers. Using a combination of the below resources can help you in your search.
- Ask your physician for a referral. If you’re trying to get Medicare benefits, you will need written orders from your doctor. A trusted physician can also provide you with a list of facilities.
- Check the Yellow Pages. Most home health agencies in your area will be listed in the phone book. Check under “Nurse Registries,” “Home Health,” and “Senior Care.”
- Use an Online HHA Directory. The following directories can assist with finding home health providers throughout Georgia:
How to Choose a Georgia Home Health Aide
When choosing a home health aide, you’ll want someone who is complying with state requirements and but also has a personality suited for home health care (such as compassion and trustworthiness). Consider the following questions when interviewing home health agencies or individual home health agents:
What to Ask a Home Health Agency
- Is your agency Medicare certified? (This means the agency meets the conditions of participation for Medicare certification)
- Is your agency accredited? (If yes, ask to see their most recent survey from the accrediting body.)
- What kind of training do your home health aides receive?
- Do you evaluate your home health aides’ competencies on a regular basis?
- Are there any current or past customers I can call to hear about their experience with your agency?
What to Ask an Independent Home Health Aide
- What services do you provide?
- What kind of training have you received?
- Do you hold any certifications? (Your home health aide should have First Aid and CPR training, in addition to hands-on experience)
- Do you have any patients I could speak to as references? (An experienced home health aide should be able to provide strong references)
Georgia HHA Regulating Agencies and Resources
The following sources used in this article can provide further information on home health services in Georgia:
- Georgia Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation
- Georgia Department of Community Health — Home Health Agencies Programs & Services
- Georgia Association for Home Health Care Providers
- Georgia Gerontology Society