On May 8, 2011, Gov. Nikki Haley signed the South Carolina In-Home Care Providers Act into law. The Act defines requirements for licensure of in-home care agencies like Always Best Care and others in our industry. It also directs the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to flesh out details of the regulations, and to ensure that the new law is communicated to all the citizens of our state. The requirements for licensure become effective when the General Assembly approves the regulation.
The South Carolina In-Home Care Providers Act
The Act came about to help ensure quality, reliable care for consumers of in-home care. Most in-home care consumers are seniors, and when care is needed, seniors are often frail and vulnerable. Sadly, there have been some in our industry who have taken advantage of seniors in their charge, prompting the SC Legislature to action. The Act is meant to weed out undesirable operators who are not operating with seniors’ best interests in mind. Once the regulations have been approved by the Legislature, they become effective and all companies offering in-home care will be required to be licensed.
The regulations proposed by DHEC are tough but fair. Among the regulations proposed:
• Background checks on both business owners and caregivers.
• Mandatory drug testing for both business owners and caregivers.
• Minimum insurance and indemnity coverage of $100,000 per occurrence and $300,000 in aggregate.
• License fees which will pay for the administration and enforcement of the licensure program.
• Record keeping requirements for client and caregiver information.
• Caregiver training requirements.
• Health standards for workers with emphasis on prevention of communicable diseases.
• Disaster preparedness requirements for clients.
DHEC has engaged our industry for feedback and input both in meetings and via emails. The comment period for the proposed regulations ends on June 25, 2012, which will trigger a schedule for finalizing the regulations, approval by the DHEC board, and presenting them to the SC Legislature for review and approval on August 9, 2012.
Always Best Care already performs almost all steps defined in the proposed regulations. The additional burdens of the Act will not have a significant impact on our business operations because we do most of these steps anyway. We do them because they are necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our clients, and we’re glad others will be forced to perform these steps for those in their care. We also expect many companies to fail in light of the new regulations and license fees, and we welcome any effort that eliminates undesirable operators of in-home care agencies.
If you would like to discuss the proposed regulations of the South Carolina In-Home Care Providers Act, or if you have any comments on this article, I invite you to contact me, Nate Rhodes, at (803) 403 1895 and share your views, or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for information as it develops and look for additional communications from us.