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Home Health Care Organizations Last Chance to Continue Operations After June 30, 2016 California Agency Now Directs Applications Must Be Received before July 1

California’s Home Care Organization Consumer Protection Act (the Act) required all home care agencies to apply by March 1, 2016 in order to obtain by July 1, 2016 an operating license as well as registration of all of their home care aides.  See,  You Snooze, You Lose, and Caregiver Agencies Must File License and Caregiver Registration Applications by March 1, 2016 or Cease Operation.  Nevertheless, a recent online announcement from the state confirms that affected organizations can still apply by June 30 and thus remain in operation on an interim basis from July 1 onward if they have not received a previous adverse action.

To implement the Act, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) created the Home Care Services Bureau (HCSB) under the Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD).  The CDSS is conducting webinars two times a month to provide updates on the progress of applications and to answer applicants’ questions.  See Stakeholder Meetings.  We obtained valuable information from the most recent, June 10 online session. The next one will be on June 24, 2016.

In the June 10 webinar, the CCLD reported receipt to date of some 1,200 applications for HCO licenses.  The agency is processing these in the order received and as quickly as possible by a two-step review and approval process.  However, the HCSB officials plainly stated that the volume is too great to reasonably expect decisions on every pending application before July 1.

The June 10 webinar revealed that the HCSB has also been overwhelmed with  approximately 64,000 applications for the Home Care Aide (HCA) registration.  The agency is attempting to deal with such challenges as duplicate ID numbers and getting prospects through the required orientation and background checks. Here again, the HCSB confidently projects that it will not be able to register all HCA applicants by July 1 as directed by the Act.

Accordingly, agency representative Evon Lenerd announced in the June 10 webinar that the HCSB will soon begin to issue conditional licenses to home care agencies which have submitted applications no later than June 30, 2016 and are cooperating with the HCSB to comply with all requirements.  Ms. Lenerd stated that the HCSB will only issue such conditional licenses to applicants who have no previous denial or administrative action taken against them by the CCLD.

According to Ms. Lenerd, the HCSB will likewise permit HCAs whose applications or background checks are in process to continue working after July 1, marking each one’s status on the online registry as “Employable” as of June 30.  The HCSB will change that status to “Registered” on full review and approval of an HCA applicant.

Ms. Lenerd explained the HCSB is adopting this interim plan to avoid disruption of any affected HCO’s business operations and ability to care for its clients while the agency is completing application review.

Thus, Ms. Lenerd has delivered good news and bad news.

The good news: (1) any person or organization providing HCO services; (2) who/which has not as yet applied for HCO licensing; and/or (3) has not submitted applications for registration of employed HCAs; and (4) wants to continue in business legally after Friday, July 1, 2016, may still submit the appropriate applications for licensing and registration to the HCSB by Thursday, June 30 and continue operations on an interim basis pending agency approvals.

The bad news:  any such person or organization providing HCO services who or which fails to submit the required applications by Thursday, June 30 will be operating illegally from July 1, 2016 and thus required by the Act to shut down.

While time is obviously short for those affected, there is nevertheless still time.  For further information or assistance in getting applications in on time, please contact Timothy Bowles, Cindy Bamforth, or Helena Kobrin.

Helena Kobrin

June 15, 2016