5 Essential Steps to Getting a Home Health Care License

home health care license

Approximately 26% of adults in the US have some sort of disability, the most common of which being a lack of mobility (13.7% of cases). When adults face serious challenges walking or climbing stairs, it can be difficult to access the care they need.

That’s where home health care comes in.

With a home health care license, you can take care of vulnerable patients in need. These unique and valuable health care providers attend to patients from the comfort of their own home. Often, you and your colleagues are the difference between life and death.

Yet, starting a home health care agency isn’t small potatoes. You’ll need a license to practice in most states. Some states require further certifications depending on the demand for home health services in the area.

Wondering how your home health care agency can get licensed and start working today? Take a look at the five essential steps you need to take before getting your businesses’ license.

1. Find out your state laws on home health care licensure

The first step to getting your home health care license is to find out if your state requires a license to operate. Here’s a list of states that don’t require you to obtain a license:

  • Alabama
  • Iowa
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia

Once you’ve educated yourself about your state’s home health care regulations, it’s time to apply for a license. The exact requirements for a license vary from state to state. As an example, here are the license requirements for home health care providers in Texas.

First, the agency must complete computer-based training before filling out the application. Then, you must register with the State Comptroller of Public Accounts and the Secretary of State. We’ll talk more about that next.

2. Register as a legally operating home health care business

To legally operate a home health care business in the United States, your business must be incorporated. Incorporation separates your business as a legal entity from you and your staff— its owner and operators. In Texas, getting incorporated means filling out incorporation applications with the Secretary of State. This application will require your agency’s name and a blank certificate of formation that you will file. Finally, you will have to obtain a Tax ID number from the IRS and National Provider Identification (NPI) number. Make sure you have all of these on hand when it’s time to apply for your official license.  Also, make sure you know how much you’ll need to pay in licensing fees.

3. Pay your home health care license fee

If you’re starting a home health care agency, changing ownership, or renewing your license, you do have to pay a fee. The state where you’re seeking licensure will determine the exact cost. Again using Texas as an example, here are the fees you’d have to pay for a license:
  • Initial licensing fees are $1,750 per agency and $1,000 for each alternate delivery site
  • Change of ownership fees are also $1,750 per agency and $1,000 for each alternate delivery site
  • Renewal licensing fees are $1,750 per agency and $600 for each alternate delivery site
The state of Texas also charges a late fee of $250 per license for change of ownership applications submitted fewer than 30 days before the change of ownership takes place. If you’re changing any information on your current license, you’ll have to pay a $30 fee to the state, depending on where you’re located. Failing to report changes in information in a timely manner will cost a late fee of $100. Check your state’s HCSSA licensing website for information that pertains to your locale.
4. Get Medicare and Medicaid Certified
Do you plan to take in elderly, disabled, or low-income patients? If so, your agency will benefit from a Medicare and/or Medicaid certification. Some states won’t certify new home health care businesses. This is usually only in areas that are oversaturated with home health providers and agencies. Also keep in mind that some states require an additional jurisprudence exam. As the agency owner, completing the exam typically falls on your shoulders. Check your local laws to find out if your state is accepting new applications and/or requires a jurisprudence exam. To start your home health care application, go to cms.gov. The process can often take up to a year for approval. So, make sure you start this process early to ensure you can take your patients’ insurance when you finally open your doors.
5. Find an office for your home health care business
Before you can receive your official license, some states require home health care businesses to have a physical location. This office must provide a computer, telephone, and a fax machine. Most states also require an office for a place to store physical or digital patient records. States like Florida also require a business checking account and a business line of credit. You may also need a small business loan if your working capital doesn’t meet your state’s home health care business start-up costs. If you do have enough capital, though, you may qualify without the loan.
Let Us Help You Get Your Home Health Care License
Getting a home health care license is a long and arduous process. You’re an expert at caring for patients, though, and not at dealing with the business side of your practice. When it comes to getting your license, you probably need a hand. That’s where Certified Homecare Consulting comes in. We are a full-service consulting firm in the business of helping agencies just like yours. Learn more about Certified Homecare Consulting and find out how we can help your home health care business get licensed!
5 Essential Steps to Getting a Home Health Care License
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