The Difference Between Licensed and Accredited Home Healthcare Providers:
Why Accreditation Matters When Finding Home Healthcare
Licensing is a legally mandated government function designed to ensure
the protection of persons served by home healthcare programs.
Accreditation is a voluntary function designed to promote recognition
of and accountability for program quality within a home healthcare
provider. Accrediting bodies require programs to be licensed before they
can become accredited. (Read more about how accreditation matters,
affecting quality and more.)
Home care and home healthcare programs regulated by the Office of Licensing
may be accredited by one or more of the following accrediting bodies:
Home Healthcare Accreditation bodies usually require:
The caregiver must have a registered professional nurse responsible for administering the program. This RN must be in good standing with the applicable state board of nursing, must hold a current license to practice in the state, and must meet specific educational and experience criteria as outlined by the accrediting bodies.
For Home Care services accreditation, the caregiver must have provided services to at least one patient during the four months prior to applying. All aides must be employed by the agency and must have current certification by the state board of nursing. The provider pays the wages and mandated State and Federal employment taxes and required insurances.
For Home Healthcare services accreditation, the caregiver must have provided service to at least one patient during the four months prior to applying. All field nurses must be employed by the agency and must have current licensure by the state board of nursing.
Additional to these requirements, accreditation may require: all caregivers must successfully pass several interviews, background checks, competency exams and personality tests. They often regularly are required to undergo routine in-house training, continuing education, and on-the-job training as requirements and standards change.
In summary, the main difference between licensing and accreditation is the peace of mind that can come from continuous quality checks and higher standards.
Published August 2019