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Senior Living Comprehensive License: Home Care Provider Licensing

The Minnesota Home Care Provider License statutes have requirements that all home care providers must adhere to. A senior living provider cannot operate in the State of Minnesota without either a Basic or Comprehensive Home Care Provider License. A home care provider may include any facility, residence, or organization that provides assistance to a person whose illness, disability, or physical condition requires a need for service.

These licensing requirements ensure that your loved one is protected and will receive the best care possible by the licensed provider. Once a license has been given to a qualified senior living provider, the provider is then subject to periodic inspections by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). These inspections help to ensure that the provider remains in compliance with the requirements of the law.

2013 & 2014 Home Care Licensing Changes

comprehensive_licenseIn 2013, the Minnesota legislature passed new laws, changing licensing requirements for home care providers. These laws were passed during the Minnesota Legislative Session and were updated during the 2014 session. The effective dates of the new laws will vary depending on whether the provider is acquiring a new license or if they are a current home care provider.

Any "new provider" applying for a home care provider license after January 1, 2014 will need to adhere to the new licensing requirements immediately whereas the effective date will vary greatly for "current providers." Current providers who were licensed prior to the passage of the 2013 laws will continue to adhere to the prior licensing requirements until their license renewal date.  At a minimum, all providers will be required to follow the new home care requirements by June 30, 2015.

A Safety Net for Seniors and Families

The Minnesota Home Care License process provides a safety net to seniors and their families. When searching for a new residence to care for your loved one, knowing that the facility or community holds a license by the state of Minnesota to provide home care services means that you can rest assured that the staff is fully-qualified to perform the services that the organization states it is authorized to perform.

A Basic Home Care Provider is permitted to deliver services of an assistive nature – such as dressing, grooming, stand-by assistance, providing reminders to take medications, laundry and other household chores.  A Comprehensive Home Care Provider on the other hand can deliver the same services as a Basic Home Care Provider plus additional services intended to enhance the quality of life of your loved one and alleviate some of the burden of the family caregiver.  Comprehensive Home Care services may include: physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, social worker services, basic home care services, dietician services, assistance with feeding and mobility, etc. By law, you have the right to receive an upfront written statement by the provider prior to admittance of your loved one stating the types of services the provider is legally authorized by the Minnesota Department of Health to perform for seniors.

This statement will also let you know the types of services the provider is not authorized to provide. Knowing the precise types of services the provider is authorized to provide for your loved one and which services they're not authorized to provide helps during the selection process of a senior living community.

The Comprehensive Provider License Review Process

When a provider is reviewed by the MDH, a surveyor visits the site to conduct a thorough walk-through of the facility. While there, the surveyor will conduct an in depth review of the provider’s policies, procedures and care provided. The surveyor will review a sample of client records to ensure that the care provider is in line with the licensing requirements and the provider’s policies. The review will include medication administration, training of staff, delegation of care related processes, assessments, and documentation and follow up of care.

The MDH recommends that providers browse through the surveys listed on their website to become familiar with what will be expected of them during a visit to their facility. This, too, helps to ensure that seniors are always in the best of hands by a provider and staff that are qualified to perform home care services. Knowing that their facility is subject to routine reviews, you can rest assured that the provider will work hard to remain in complete compliance with Minnesota licensing requirements.

Individuals and families should ask senior living providers for a copy of their Uniform Consumer Information Guide and if they have had a recent survey visit to review their most recent survey results.

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Topics: Care and Programs

Jim Stumpf

Written by Jim Stumpf

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