Important California Home Care Laws and Regulations

While In-Home Care Organizations (HCOs) have had few laws and regulations over the years, they have become increasingly regulated the state of California with the implementation of the Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act of 2013 (AB 1217). In response to concerns about patient safety and security, the state has enacted these regulations and laws to impose safety checks and training. The act also addresses concerns about the abuse of HCO workers and delineates the standards for companies employing caregivers. While these reforms are necessary and appropriate, they have increased the price of home care services. Here's why:

Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act

The most significant reform is the Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act, which was signed into law on October 13,2013. The act covers "home care services," which are defined as non-medical services and assistance provided by a registered Home Care Assistant (HCA) to a client who, because of advanced age or physical or mental disability needs assistance in activities of daily living, allowing the client to stay in their residence.

These services include assistance in the following areas:

  • dressing

  • bathing

  • exercising

  • personal hygiene/grooming

  • transferring

  • ambulating

  • positioning

  • toileting/incontinence care

  • housekeeping

  • meal planning/preparation

  • laundry

  • transportation

  • correspondence

  • making telephone calls

  • shopping for personal care items or groceries

  • companionship

What is included in the act?

The legislation requires the following of HCO agencies:

  • List aids in an online registry

  • Conduct background checks on workers

  • Obtain finger prints of all aides

  • Provide 5 hours of training for new hires

  • Obtain a license from the state certifying their compliance with basic standards

  • Every person who owns 10% or more interest in a CA home care company must undergo a criminal background check through the Department of Justice

  • Owners cannot have any felony convictions

  • Owners must procure a separate dishonesty bond

  • Every owner must implement a company policy forbidding the company and its staff from hiring caregivers that are not currently registered with CA’s Home Care Services Bureau (HCSB)

The commencement date of the law was extended to January 1, 2016. It provides that the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will regulate HCOs and provide background checks of affiliated Home Care Aides (HCAs) and independent HCAs who wish to be listed on the Home Care Services (HCS) Registry. Currently CDSS is implementing regulations, including the formation of the Home Care Services Bureau (HCSB), which will oversee the licensing and oversight of the HCOs and the Caregiver Background Check Bureau (CBCB), which will maintain the HCS Registry.

Penalties upon failure to follow the act include:

  • $900 fine per day a HCO is not licensed by the Department of Social Services

  • Potential cease and desist order (remains in effect until the individual/entity has obtained a license)

  • Potential imposition of a civil penalty or...

  • Potential civil action against the individual/entity