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How Are Home Care Agencies Evaluated?
While most states offer a specific license for private pay home care agencies, Massachusetts does not. In order to establish quality standards and help consumers make informed choices, the Alliance created an Agency Accreditation Program with standards similar to those for licensure in most other states.
The accreditation program includes fifteen standards relating to: Client rights, privacy, and complaint procedures; Protections against abuse; Fair employment practices; Caregiver background screening; Competency, training, and supervision; Insurance coverage; and Compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws.
To become accredited, agencies must present documentation demonstrating that they meet each of these standards; the documents are then carefully reviewed by Alliance staff for proof of compliance. The Alliance only accredits agencies that meet or exceed all fifteen standards.
At the Federal level, Medicare Certification is an intensive process of review by the Centers for Medicare Services, a division of the Department of Housing & Human Services; only agencies with this certification can get reimbursed for Medicare and/or Medicaid-covered care.
Though Medicare Certification & Agency Accreditation are the simplest indicators of an agency’s competence, they are not the only ones: many other reputable organizations offer accreditation and/or certification programs, and many agencies without any form of accreditation or certification provide excellent, safe service.