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Home care agencies and registries in Pennsylvania must now be licensed, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced.
Existing home care agencies and registries must submit applications for licensure within 60 days of Dec. 12, according to the department. Companies formed after Dec. 12 must get a license prior to operating.
Home care agencies provide assistance with medications, personal care, homemaking, companionship, respite care and other services, according to the state. Home care registries are firms that provide lists of people who provide those services as independent contractors.
The licenses require home care agencies and registries to conduct criminal background checks and child abuse clearances, conduct tuberculosis screening and ensure the competency of workers.
"This is a significant milestone for the state's home care industry," said Vicki Hoak, executive director of the Pennsylvania Homecare Association. "Home care agencies now have similar status within the healthcare system as hospitals, nursing homes, home health and hospice agencies."