Thursday, September 9, 2021

Home nursing is one of the fastest growing professions in Ohio. To date, the agencies that provide qualified home health care, non-medical home health / personal care services, and non-governmental non-medical home health / personal care service providers in Ohio have not been licensed. As of July 1, 2022, all agencies offering home nursing (qualified or non-medical) will require a license issued by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), as will non-governmental non-medical home care providers.[1] Both the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (HCCAOA) and the Ohio Council for Home Care and Hospice (OCHCH) are vocal supporters of the approval.

As soon as HB110 comes into force, anyone who operates a home care service without a license or who provides home care that is not authorized to represent will be prosecuted. Therefore, interested authorities and providers affected by this new law should start preparing for the application and approval process.

In addition, if you are considering starting a home care agency or offering home care as a sole proprietorship, act soon. Agencies and non-agencies that are already active on July 1, 2022 can possibly help avoid the guarantee obligations of the new law.

Agencies that provide qualified home health services

Under this law, all agencies that provide qualified home health services, including qualified nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech pathology, require a license from ODH. This applies to agencies that send nurses and therapists to patients’ homes or to their place of residence. Agencies that provide qualified home health services must be certified (or otherwise meet the eligibility criteria, even if they are not certified) by CMS, the Joint Commission, or the Department of Aging, among others.

Agencies that provide non-medical home health services

Agencies providing non-medical home health services such as personal care, housekeeping, bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and short-term care must also be licensed. Requirements include fingerprinting the principal owner, providing ODH with a copy of the criminal records review policy and description of the services being offered, and a copy of the policies and procedures relating to the services being offered.

Third Party Providers (Individuals)

Non-agency providers must also apply for a license. This law applies to providers who provide personal care and household services to more than two people.[2] They too must provide fingerprints and a description of the non-medical home health services provided, among other things.

Next Steps

After HB 110 has come into force, the next step will be for the ODH to announce rules through the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR). ODH will supplement the law created by the General Assembly in detail. Both supporters and opponents can comment on the proposed rules. Ohio Home Health Care Agencies may want to consider providing comments.

Some of these rules establish disciplinary action that ODH can take against applicants and licensees. You will formulate ethical rules and prohibited acts that give ODH the right to refuse the license, revoke or suspend the license, limit the license and put the licensees on trial. Disciplinary matters are regulated by RC § 119 ff.

[1] The new law is codified in RC § 3740.01 ff. See HB 110, 134 Gen. Assembly, Reg. Sess. (Ohio 2021).

[2] The published rules are expected to define what it means to serve more than two people. A rule can be made that defines it as more than two people in a calendar year. There are also exceptions for immediate family members and individuals already licensed through the Department of Developmental Disabilities.

© 2021 Dinsmore & Shohl LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 252