Accreditation is open to any home care agency that operates in Massachusetts; membership in the Alliance is neither a prerequisite for, nor a guarantee of, Accreditation.
To become Accredited, agencies must complete the application and enclose relevant documentation; these documents are then carefully reviewed by Alliance staff for proof of compliance. Accreditation is only awarded to agencies that meet or exceed all fifteen standards.
Successful applications must include:
Copies of the supporting documents described in pp. 2-5 of the application (i.e., insurance declarations pages, CHSB certification, company policies, etc.);
Completed and signed copies of the both the application (p. 6) and the Logo License Agreement (pp. 7 - 9);
Initial accreditation are good for one year and there is a $750 fee for agencies that are not active members of the Alliance. Renewals each have a two-year term and a $1,250 fee.
All fees must accompany the application and are non-refundable, but are a waived for members. To learn more about the benefits of Alliance membership, visit our Join page.
Full Text of the Accreditation Standards
Any organization providing home care services in Massachusetts may apply for Accreditation by the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts, Inc (the “Alliance”).
To gain accreditation, an agency must meet or exceed the following 15 standards:
The agency has and utilizes a Written Information Security Policy to safeguard the personal, health, and financial information about their clients and employees consistent with the requirements of the Massachusetts Privacy Law (201 CMR 17) Required Documentation: Copies of privacy policies for client & employee data.
The agency establishes a service plan for each client, in consultation with the client and/or client representative. The plan shall include: the type and/or scope of services provided; identification of any functional limitations of the client and their relevance to the service plan; any information received from the client and/or client representative regarding the physical and mental status of the client that may be relevant to the service plan. The client or client representative receives a written copy of the service plan and an explanation of the cost of services. Service plans are reviewed periodically.
Required Documentation: Copy of standard agreement service planning form or policy.
The agency has and uses a procedure to accept, investigate, and respond to client or employee complaints. Written information about this procedure is available to clients and employees upon request.
Required Documentation: Copy of complaint policy and written notice to clients & employee grievance policy.
The agency trains all client service staff in identifying and reporting suspected abuse, and follows a written procedure to respond swiftly and compassionately whenever client abuse, neglect, or theft is suspected or alleged, in accordance with 105 CMR 155. Required Documentation: Copy of abuse reporting and investigation policy, including documents informing clients about how to report abuse.
The agency directly employs – or contracts with agencies that directly employ – essentially all its client service staff and maintains workers compensation insurance coverage for all employees. If the agency uses any independent contractors for infrequently needed professional services, it ensures that they carry their own liability and workers compensation insurance. Required Documentation: Declarations page of current workers compensation insurance policy and signed attestation.
The agency maintains a payroll process which includes prompt payment at established rates for all work performed, reporting of employment wages to the appropriate governmental agency, collecting state and federal withholding payroll taxes, and payment of these taxes and all other state and federal payroll taxes to the appropriate governmental agencies. Required Documentation: Complete the Signed Attestation on the Accrediation Application.
The agency ensures that, prior to assignment, any worker who provides client services has received training for each task to be performed for the client. In addition, all client service workers will have received training & orientation (reviewed at least annually) in the following areas:
Confidentiality/privacy and client’s rights;
Infection control and communicable diseases;
Handling of emergencies, including safety and falls prevention; or
Observation, reporting & documenting changes in client needs & environment
Required Documentation: Copy of new hire checklist or orientation outline.
The agency ensures that all workers whose duties include assistance with personal care have met one of the following training or equivalency requirements:
Successful completion of a 75-hour home health aide training program – including 16 hours of supervised practical training – that meets the requirements of the federal Medicare Conditions of Participation for Home Health Agencies at 42 CFR Part 484.36; or
Successful completion of a 60-hour Homemaker/Personal Care training program equivalent to the standards issued by the MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs; or
Successful completion of at least 10 hours of personal care training overseen by a RN; or
One year or more experience providing personal care services in a supervised (home care agency or facility) setting; or
Two years or more experience in providing private personal care services.
Required Documentation: Copy of policy regarding training requirement or job description(s) that indicate minimum training requirement.
The agency ensures that all employees who provide personal care for agency clients are competent in the following areas:
Observing, reporting and documenting the care provided to their client.
Understanding of their client’s base level of function and the appropriate reporting of changes in function.
Understanding of the needs of their client in order to maintain that client at his/her optimal level of functioning.
Safe and appropriate techniques in the provision of care for the safety and well being of both the client and the employee.
Required Documentation: Copy of competency assessment tool or checklist.
The agency verifies current licensure with appropriate professional licensing boards for all individuals employed as RN, LPN, Physical or Occupational Therapist, Physical or Occupational Therapy Assistant, Social Worker or any other profession requiring licensure, and uses a re-verification system to ensure that such personnel maintain current licensure.
Required Documentation: Complete the Signed Attestation on the Accrediation Application.
The agency ensures that supervisors are accessible by telephone during any hours that client service workers are providing services, & that workers know how to contact them in an emergency.
Required Documentation: Copy of emergency contact policy.
The agency conducts on-going quality assurance/supervision visits for all client service workers on a regular basis.
Required Documentation: Copy of supervision policy and form.
The agency conducts background screening checks upon hire for all direct care employees, including at a minimum:
Massachusetts CORI through the MA Criminal History Systems Board (CHSB); the agency does not assign direct care staff to provide client care until the results are received in accordance with 803 CMR 3;
State or county criminal history screenings for each location in which the applicant is known to have lived or worked during at least the last five years;
Social Security number verification and trace;
Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Exclusion List;
Nurse Aide Registry or Professional Licensing Board for each state in which the applicant is known to have worked within the last five years;
Verification of at least two professional references, if possible;
Verification of work history, if possible;
Verification of eligibility to work in the US; and
For all employees who transport clients, verification of motor vehicle registration, auto insurance and driving license, and driving record for a minimum of the last five years
Required Documentation: Verification of current CHSB certification to access CORI, verification of certification to access MA Nurse Aide Registry, copy of policy and procedure for background checks that includes all nine of the required points listed above.
The agency maintains liability insurance including coverage of at least the following:
General and Professional Liability: $1 million per occurrence/$3 million aggregate
Sexual Abuse and Molestation: $100 thousand/$300 thousand
Automobile Liability: $1 million per occurrence
Employee Dishonesty including coverage for third parties: $25,000.
Required Documentation: The declarations page of the current insurance policy.
The agency conducts business in accordance with fair business practices and complies with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations and with the Code of Business Ethics of the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts.
Required Documentation: Complete the Signed Attestation on the Accreditation Application.