As of July 2016, all Home Care Agencies (those who provide a caregiver who works 1-1 with a client in their home, providing companionship, Light housekeeping, personal care, meal preparation, medication reminders, transportation, etc.) should only be operating if they have been licensed by the state of California.
This is good news! This means that there are certain requirements an agency must meet to be licensed by the state of California. This is a lot better than before, when you did not know what the agency’s practices might be – they each choose how they wanted to operate, and there was no audit for fair, safe, or ethical practices (no background checks, not hiring caregivers as employees, no worker’s comp insurance, etc.)
You should only be using agencies registered through the state of California. Each of these agencies will have what is called and HCO (Home Care Organization) Number. This can be searched on this website:
There are various ways to search, but no one should be working with any agency not listed at this website. As an example of how to search, choose Facility Type “Home Care Organization”, and Facility Name “Synergy HomeCare”, and click Search. You will see all the different Synergy HomeCare franchises across the state. You can see the status as “Licensed”. Our sister company, Synergy HomeCare, is the one in the 94402 zip code, and you can click through View to see the details, including any citations, inspections, complaints, etc.
There are many quasi-home care agencies out there. For example, ones that don’t hire their caregivers as employees. They used to be able to call themselves Home Care agencies when they were actually registries of caregivers and the client was the actual employer. There was no oversight before. They should not be able to call themselves Home Care agencies anymore because they will not be licensed, BUT enforcement has not really begun, and thus you must protect yourself by searching the website above and asking for an HCO Number.
Also, starting July 1st, you should not have a caregiver working for you if she/he has not been registered AND cleared through the State of California. Every agency must only use registered caregivers for their clients. This clearance is searchable on this state website (https://secure.dss.ca.gov/ccld/hcsregistry/registrysearch.aspx ), after providing first name, last name, and Home Care Aide number. The HCSB (Home Care Services Bureau) requires a background check that is stricter than anything Home Care Organizations were allowed to use before, which means we are finally keeping our seniors safer!
To see how the search works, you can search for the owner of Active In-Home Therapy (and also Synergy HomeCare) – first name is Sailaja, last name Gosula, and her HCA number is 7515139934 (everyone in Synergy HomeCare’s office also registered as an HCA just in case they need to fill in a shift to ensure client coverage). You will see her status as “Registered” which means she is cleared and ready to work. If it says “Pending”, the caregiver cannot work. There are a few other mid-way statuses which mean “the caregiver can work for now until we finish processing them”.
Becoming licensed has not been an easy process. Home Care Agencies have worked very hard to comply with all the requirements. But this is very good news! You can expect more consistency (and fewer agencies) now. This should give you confidence that any Home Care agency registered with the State of California is fulfilling the basic set of requirements. The state has made it easy for you to verify that you are working with a bona fide Home Care Organization who has fulfilled the state’s requirements. We are thrilled that the state has taken this step, and worked to create oversight and enforcement to ensure safer choices for our seniors.