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Licensure Mandated for Home Health-Care Agencies in Ohio

By October 27, 2021No Comments

A new Ohio law mandating licensure for home health agencies and providers will go into effect July 1, 2022.1 Home health agencies are those persons or government entities that provide skilled home health services or nonmedical home health services at a patient’s home. Individual non-agency providers are natural persons who are self-employed to provide skilled home health services or nonmedical home health services. Proponents of the law include the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (HCCAOA) and the Ohio Council for Home Care and Hospice (OCHCH).  

The new law will give home health agencies until July 1, 2022, to obtain a license issued by the Ohio Department of Health (“ODH”). After July 1, 2022, anyone operating a home care agency or providing non-agency home care without a license will be subject to criminal prosecution. Accordingly, health agencies and non-agency providers should begin preparing for the application and licensure process.  

If you are considering starting a home health-care agency or providing home health care as an individual provider, you should act soon. Agencies and non-agency providers who are operational on July 1, 2022, may avoid the surety bond requirements of the new law.  

Agencies providing skilled home health services 

The new law will require all agencies that provide skilled home health services, including skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology to obtain a license from ODH. This licensure requirement will apply to agencies that send nurses and therapists to patients’ homes or places of residence. Agencies providing skilled home health services will require certification from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Joint Commission, or the Department of Aging, among other requirements.  

Agencies providing nonmedical home health services 

A home health agency providing nonmedical services such as personal care services, homemaking services, bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and respite care will also need to be licensed. Applications for licenses will require fingerprinting for the primary owner, providing ODH with a copy of the criminal records check policy and a description of services offered, and a copy of policies and procedures as they relate to the services offered. 

Non-agency providers (individuals)  

Under the new law, non-agency providers must also apply for licensure. The licensure requirement applies to providers who engage in personal care and homemaking services to more than two individuals. Like agency providers, individuals will have to provide fingerprints and a description of the nonmedical home health services provided, among other requirements.  

Next steps 

Prior to the effective date of the bill, the ODH will promulgate rules providing further details on the provision of these licenses. It is expected that some of the rules will define disciplinary actions which ODH may take against applicants and licensees. The rules will detail the ethical rules and prohibited acts, which will give the ODH the right to refuse, revoke or suspend licensure, place restrictions on licensure, and place licensees on probation.  

If you have questions about home health-care licensing, please contact us at (216) 573-6000.  

Oliver Thomas is a law clerk. He can be reached at [email protected] 

Louis Licata is a managing partner. His practice is focused on employment law, litigation and business transactions. He can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at (216) 573-6000.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is merely intended to provide a very general overview of a certain area of the law. Nothing in this article is intended to create an attorney-client relationship or provide legal advice. You should not rely on anything in this article without first consulting with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. If you have specific questions about your matter, please contact an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

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