How to Choose a Home Healthcare Agency

When it comes to choosing the right Home Healthcare Agency for you or your loved one, it can sometimes feel like a daunting and emotionally charged task.  But, it does not have to.  If you have the right questions to ask, the answers will lead you to the right agency.  These six questions will make it easy. Choosing home health agency

  • Can the agency provide all the services you require?  Ask the agency if they will develop a personalized care plan designed to meet your individual needs and requirements as determined by you, your family and your doctor.  Ask that it includes the parameters for making revisions, should needs change in the future.  Then, request this plan in writing.       
  • Does the agency require special certification for their employees? For example, do the aides they send need to be certified and does the agency do anything in terms of checking that this certification is current.  All qualified agencies offer in-service classes to keep the aide’s skills current with new procedures and refresh their skills.  They also make sure that the aide’s work papers and state required medical forms are up-to-date.  
  • Is the agency licensed by the state?  All states require licensing of home health care organizations, except Idaho, South Dakota, and Vermont.  If an agency is supposed to have a state license, but does not, then you should look for another agency.  Check with your state health department to confirm.  
  • Is the agency certified by Medicare/Medicaid and/or The Joint Commission?  To become certified, an agency must meet specific state and federal requirements and quality standards for patient care.  Accreditation may indicate a commitment to providing a higher level of quality care.  An agency may also be contracted to accept Medicaid patients through a larger certified one.  It’s best to clarify your situation with each individual agency if you plan on Medicaid reimbursement.  
  • Will your insurance cover a home health aide?  Long Term Care Insurance plans usually cover home health aide services.  Your insurance company will likely require that you contract with an agency that is licensed by the State Department of Health and will probably not cover you if you hire someone privately.  You should call your plan to verify.  
  • How much can I expect to pay for this service?  A recent New York Times article on choosing a caregiver cited that the median rate for a home health aide that provides personal care such as bathing and dressing is $20 per hour. Of course, prices vary by location and agency.  

The Home Healthcare Agency that can answer all your questions and that you feel comfortable with will be the right choice for you.  David York Agency would be happy to give you more information about issues relating to home healthcare.    Contact us and visit our website where we have a resources page for further research.