How to Obtain a State License for Your Home Health Care Agency
Prepared by 21st Century Health Care Consultants – A Nationwide Company with over 17 Years of Experience in the Licensing and Certification of Home Health Care Agencies
Starting a Home Health Care Agency is a demanding task. Legal registration and permits for running the business are required, but the most demanding item is the submission of the required state application and preparation for the subsequent state license inspection. The owner also needs to plan out the services that will be offered by the Home Health Care Agency.
Hiring a Home Health Care Consultant
Consider hiring a Home Health Care Consultant that is knowledgeable about setting up Home Health Care Agencies in your state. A good consultant can simplify the process and can expedite the licensing process, assure that you pass the state license inspection, train your personnel on how to operate the agency and develop all of the manuals that you will need in order to comply with state and federal laws.
Registration for Opening a Home Health Care Agency
The home health business needs to be registered to be a legally operating business in the United States. According to Business.gov, each state has a set of requirements or rules regarding business registration. You will need to register your Home Health Care Agency under the state laws in your state and set up the business entity that will best fit your needs. Typically, this will be a sub-chapter S corporation or a Limited Liability Company (LLC). If you have an existing corporation or LLC, these entities can be used, as you may wish to obtain an assumed or fictitious name to identify your agency.
Permits and Licenses Required to Open a Home Health Care Agency
Permits and Home Health Care Licenses are required for a Home Health Care Agency. The permits and Home Health Care License requirements will differ for each state,. The business may also require local permits, which can include a local business permit and an occupational permit from the county’s building and planning department.
Tax ID and NPI Numbers Required to Open a Home Health Care Agency
To open a Home Health Care Agency you will need to apply for a Federal Tax ID as well as a National Provider Identifier Number(NPI number). These can be done at the respective websites. When you register your company with your state, you will get information pertaining to your state tax ID number. This will allow you to make the payments required for your state income tax and employment taxes for your Home Health Care Agency.
Home Health Care Licensing
Fourteen states do not accept license applications unless it can be proven through a Certificate of Need (CON) Application that the need for a Home Health Care Agency is pressing. CONs are difficult, if not impossible, to obtain and they typically require a significant and non-refundable filing fee. Thirtysix states at present allow the establishment of new Home Health Care Agency without a Certificate of Need Application . All but four (Iowa, Michigan, Massachusetts and Ohio) require the submission of a state license application.
21st Century Health Care Consultants prepares all license applications for its clients. It will typically provide a three hole binder which will include the license application itself and all required attachments. An index will be provided as the front cover and the book in its entirety will be mailed to the client who will sign where indicated, include a check for the license fee and mail the book in its entirety to the state licensing authority. This approach organizes the application package for the person reviewing it as well as avoiding the possible misplacement of documents by the person reviewing the application. Since 21st Century Health Care Consultants adopted this method, the percentage of immediate approvals without the need for corrections has increased to 90%.
The content of the licensure applications varies from state to state but there are always three common components:
- Proof of agency authorization must be provided,
- Criminal Checks must be conducted, and
- Proof must be provided that key staff members (typically, Administrators and Director(s) of Nursing) are qualified under state regulations.
The amount of proof and the number of forms that states require to substantiate items 1-3 above varies greatly from state to state. Hence applications may be as short as five pages or as long at 55 pages.
Unless an applicant fails to sign the application or fails to provide the required fee, the application will not be sent back to the applicant. Instead, if the application is not filled out properly a letter of corrections or omissions will be sent to the applicant and the applicant will be given anywhere from 15 days to 30 days to make the corrections. If the state is not satisfied with the response the application will then be rejected.
The most common reason for an application rejection is that the state determines that either an Administrator or a Director of Nursing is not qualified to hold their positions. 21st Century Health Care Consultants will not allow a license application to be submitted unless we are certain that the staff members qualify.
Every state that requires a license application will also require a license inspection that will either be conducted by its own inspectors or by an Accrediting body. Eighteen states at present require that the licensure inspection take place before a license is issued. All other states will issue a provisional license or what is in effect a provisional license and then follow it up with an inspection visit.