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Home Care Agencies Now Regulated !


Wendy Simons



   After five years of effort and two legislative sessions, Nevada has enacted protection policies for our seniors who receive personal care services in their homes from “home care” or “personal care agencies” effective January 30, 2008.


   Representative from numerous entities including the Bureau of Licensure and Certification (BLC), Division of Aging Services (DAS), Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Office of Disability Services (ODS) and the home care provider industry as well as several senior advocates have worked diligently to craft law and regulations that would govern the rapidly growing home care agencies in Nevada.  While the process was slow, the end result will benefit our seniors and their family caregivers.


   Over 135 applications for licensure and certification have been sent out to agencies now providing home care services throughout the state by the Bureau of Licensure and Certification (BLC). The BLC is a regulatory division of the State Health Division.  Once these applications are received, the BLC will begin the process of surveying and regulating these agencies. Once they meet the regulatory criteria, the will be licensed as “An Agency to Provide Personal Care Services” in the Home (PCA). 


   So… what is the criteria for an agency to need to apply for this licensure? It is identified in Nevada Revised Statute ( NRS) 449.021 and basically says, “any person, other than a natural person, which provides in the home, through its employees or by contractual arrangement with other person, non-medical services related to personal care to elderly persons or persons with disabilities to assist those persons with activities of daily living including without limitation; dressing and undressing, bathing, grooming, the elimination of wastes from the body, the preparation and eating of meals, laundry, shopping, cleaning, transportation and any other minor needs related to the maintenance of personal hygiene.”


   This raises the question in the minds of the consumer, neighbor and friend, “Do I need to be licensed as an ‘Agency to Provide Personal Care Services in the Home’?”  As it stands, an individual does not need to meet the above criteria. That is unless, he/she employs another individual to provide the care. An independent contractor, working alone who provides non-medical services does not have to become a PCA. There are other exclusions, more applicable to the disability population such as Intermediary Service Organization (ISO),or a group of family or friends who provide care to one person or one family. There is a caveat on this, however. The group must provide a written document be available for review if needed that substantiates they are only providing for that family member or friend.  (Please search these exceptions in the regulations.)


   In summary, the whole impetus in this new law/regulation is to assure that agencies sending individuals to our seniors homes meet certain minimum training criteria, background checking and quality assurances.   Many agencies have had these criteria in place and have been doing an excellent job for years, but some have not and have placed our home bound seniors at risk.  The quality agencies were instrumental in working with those who authored standards for the industry and supported regulatory oversight.  These agencies will continue to provide good care and services for years to come. Don’t be surprised however, if some of the 135 agencies receiving regulatory applications disappear. That’s a good thing!  It suggests they may not have the best business practices in screening, training and placement of personal care attendants and resist accountability.


   Thanks to all who put such d effort, thought and dedication to protecting our seniors in their homes.  This is true advocacy at work. Well done.


   (There is an excellent “Fact Sheet” for Personal Care Providers available on the BLC website which you can access by going to . Click on the Bureau of Licensure and Certification link which will take you to the home page of the BLC.  The actual regulations are also available on this site, and are worth reviewing.)


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