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AHCA: Homemaker Companion Sservices

Homemaker Companion Services

Homemaker Companion Services

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Welcome to the Homemaker Companion Services webpage. Homemaker Companion Services employ individuals to do housekeeping, cook, run errands, and provide companionship to the elderly and adults with disabilities.

Homemaker Companion Services Overview Video

Bureau of Health Facility Regulation
Home Care Unit
2727 Mahan Drive-Mail Stop #34
Tallahassee, FL, 32308
Phone: (850) 412- 4403
Fax: (850) 922-5374

E-mail: HQAHOMEHEALTH@ahca.myflorida.com

(Ask to speak with a homemaker companion specialist)

 

1. How much does it cost to register?

The fee is $50.00 for a 2 year registration. See the Background Screening web page: http://ahca.myflorida.com/MCHQ/Long_Term_Care/Background_Screening/ for the fees for screening of managing employee and financial officer.

 

2. How does an individual register?

    Individuals are not registered. The law requires that any organization that provides homemaker and/or companion services register with AHCA.

 

3. Where do I get the application form and instructions?

    Downloadable forms with instructions are available at the AHCA web site, http://ahca.myflorida.com/homecare.  At the site, click on "Homemaker Companion" and then on the “applications” tab, to download the Homemaker Companion Services Application for Registration.

 

4. Do I need this registration, if I only plan to offer companion services to clients with developmental disabilities under my contract with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD)?

    No, an organization under contract with APD which provides companion services ONLY to persons with a developmental disability is exempt from registration.

 

5. How long does it take to become registered?

    Upon receipt of an application for a license, the agency shall examine the application and, within 30 days after receipt, notify the applicant in writing of any apparent errors or omissions and request any additional information required. The applicant has 21 days from the date of receipt of an omissions letter to submit a reply. Within 60 days after the receipt of a complete application, the agency shall approve or deny the application.

 

6. When receiving a letter of items needed for my Homemaker Companion Services Application, how many days do I have to respond to AHCA?

    Requested information omitted from an application, must be sent to AHCA within 21 days of receipt of the letter. If the information is not received, the application will be withdrawn from further consideration. The fees are not refundable.

 

7. After the missing information has been sent back to AHCA, how long does AHCA have to issue my license?

    AHCA has 60 days to issue or deny the license from the date that all missing items are received.

 

8. What can I name my homemaker companion services organization?
    Use a name that shows the public the kind of services you provide under this registration. The name you select cannot include the words home health, personal care, patient care, health care, assisted living, nurses, nursing, medical, health professional, or any name that would imply to the public that you are registered or licensed to offer or provide any services that are beyond the scope allowed under the homemaker and companion law.

 

9. Do I need to register a fictitious name for my business?

    Yes, if you intend to operate your business under any name other than your legal name (first, middle and last name) or the legal name of your corporation, LLC or partnership. To register the fictitious name of your business, there is information at the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations web site, www.sunbiz.org, or by call (850) 245-6058.

 

10. If I am a corporation, LLC or, Partnership do I need to register a fictitious name?

    No, unless you are using a name other than your registered corporation, LLC or, Partnership name. However, if the legal name of your corporation, LLC or, Partnership includes the words home health, personal care, patient care, health care, assisted living, nurses, nursing, medical, health professional, or any name that would imply to the public that you are registered or licensed to offer or provide any services that are beyond the scope allowed under the homemaker and companion law.

 

11. Can I operate from my home?

    Yes. Your home must be located within the state of Florida and in the area in which you intend to provide services. Please note that you may get inspected on an unannounced basis during the weekday if a complaint is received by AHCA. Also, your business name, your street address, and your telephone number will appear at the AHCA web site www.FloridaHealthFinder.gov.

 

12. How much insurance is required?

    Current Florida law does not require that homemaker and companion services have insurance.

 

13. If my registration has expired, what do I need to do?

    You must apply as an initial applicant and stop operating until you are registered again.  All clients will need to be placed with a registered Homemaker Companion Service until your new registration has been issued.

 

14. If my registration expires during AHCA’s review of the application, what should I do?

    If your registration expires during the Agency’s review, you may continue to operate.  According to the state law, your business is still registered if you have submitted the application and fee prior to the license expiration date.

 

15. Is there a late fee if my application is not submitted 60 days prior to the expiration date?

    Yes. The late fee is $25. You may send this fee with your application. The state law now requires the late fee be paid before the Agency can issue the license.

 

16. If I have a Homemaker Companion Service (HCS) registration and recently received my Nurse Registry license (or Home Health Agency License), do I need both?

    No, a Nurse Registry and a Home Health Agency can send out homemaker and companions under their licenses.

 

17. How do I add counties to my registration?

    Mail a signed and dated letter to the AHCA Home Care Unit, 2727 Mahan Drive – Mail Stop 34, Tallahassee, FL 32308 listing your registration number and the counties to be added to your registration. A check or money order for $25 made payable to AHCA is required. Any counties to be added can only be served from the one office address on your registration certificate.

 

18. What are the rules for setting up a satellite office for HCS?:

    HCS do not have satellite offices in state law. If additional offices are set up in the counties that you plan to do business, each office has to be registered by sending in an initial application and registration fee to the AHCA Home Care Unit.

 

19. I want to add a county to my registration and its almost time for renewal, can I wait until I submit my renewal application?

    Yes. However, you cannot do services in the new county until your renewed registration takes effect.

 

20. When should I submit my renewal application?

    You should submit your application at least 60 days prior to the expiration date of your registration. If your renewal application is received after the expiration date, there is no longer a registration to renew. Thus, your application will be returned with the check or money order, requesting an initial application.

 

21. I am filling out my renewal application; do I need to submit a new fingerprint card?

    No. Not unless the managing employee or financial officer have not been background screened within the last 5 years or have changed since your last application.

 

22. Can I get a temporary registration until my application is approved?

    No. A temporary registration cannot be issued.

 

23. Do I have to be a Corporation, LLC or, Partnership to become HCS?

    No. You can operate as a sole proprietor.

 

24. How do I file for a change of ownership?

    The applicant for initial licensure due to a change of ownership must submit an application which includes a letter signed by the seller (transferor) notifying AHCA of the coming sale or transfer to the buyer. The application must be received by AHCA at least 60 days prior to the proposed effective date of change of ownership. The sellers (transferors) registration must be active on the date the Agency issues the license to the buyer.

 

25. If the current registration expires prior to the effective date of the change of ownership, what should I do?

    If the sellers (transferors) registration expires prior to the effective date of the change of ownership, the seller (transferor) must submit a renewal application (adhering to all guidelines) to renew their registration.

 

26. If my Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN#) changes and not the ownership percentage(s) is this a change of ownership?

    Yes.

 

27. What is considered a change of ownership?

    The state law says that a change of ownership is (a) when the licensee sells or transfers its ownership to a different individual or entity as evidenced by a change in federal employer identification number or taxpayer identification number; or (b) when 51 % or more of the ownership, shares, membership, or controlling interest of a licensee is in any manner transferred or otherwise assigned. The above does not apply to a licensee that is publicly traded on a recognized stock exchange. Also, change solely in the management company or board of directors is not a change of ownership

 

28. I plan to move my HCS business to a new location; what do I need to do?

    Send a letter to the AHCA Home Care Unit, 2727 Mahan Drive – Mail Stop 34, Tallahassee, FL 32308 to request an address change, giving your registration number, your old address, the new address, and new telephone number, fax number and email address if changed. Your business must be located in one of the counties that you will have on your registration.  A check or money order for $25 payable to AHCA is required. A revised registration certificate will be mailed to you with the new address.

 

29. I need to change my mailing address only; what do I need to do?

    Send a letter to the AHCA Home Care Unit, 2727 Mahan Drive – Mail Stop 34, Tallahassee, FL 32308 to request an address change, giving your registration number, your old mailing address, the new mailing address, and new telephone number, fax number and email address if changed. Please be sure to indicate that this change applies only to your mailing address.

30. I cannot locate my current registration certificate; how do I get a duplicate copy?

    Send a letter requesting a duplicate copy of your registration, along with a check or money order for $25 payable to AHCA , to the Home Care Unit, 2727 Mahan Drive – Mail Stop 34, Tallahassee, FL 32308 . Be sure to include your registration number, current address, telephone number, fax number and email address.

 

31. If the managing employee and financial officer have had a background screening through the Dept. of Children and Families office or Medicaid office within the past five years; do they have to get fingerprinted again?

    No. Those offices must give you a letter on their letterhead for each person stating that FBI (level II) has been done, giving the date of the screening and stating that the results were OK for each. A copy of those letters should be sent with the application. In addition, the Affidavit of Compliance with Background Screening Requirements, AHCA Form 3100-0008, must be completed and submitted. This form is at the web site with the Homemaker Companion Services applications tab.

 

32. Do the renewal application forms have to be filled out in entirety?

    Yes. Do not leave any items unanswered. If a specific question is not applicable to you, write "NA" for not applicable.

 

33. I am adding a DBA (doing business as) name to my Corporation's name; where do I list this on my application?

    List the DBA name, also called a fictitious name, in Section 1 of your application.

 

34. Our agency already has a home health agency (or nurse registry) license.  Do we also need to get a registration in order to offer homemakers and companions?

    No.  Homemakers and companions can be provided under the home health agency and nurse registry licenses.  There is no need for a registration.

 

35. Do I have to have a website for this business?

    No. If you do not have a website, write "NA" for not applicable when you are completing the application form. If you do have a website, your license (registration) number must appear on this site.

 

36. Do I have to have brochures, flyers or, printed materials for this business?

    No. If you do not have printed materials, write "NA" for not applicable on the application form. If you do have some, your license/registration number must appear on all printed materials.

 

37. We are a not-for-profit entity, should our voluntary officers and board members be listed on the application?

    No. If this or any other question does not apply to your business, write "NA" for not applicable.

 

 

1. What services can I provide?

    A homemaker does household chores that include housekeeping, cooking, shopping assistance, laundry, and other routine household tasks. In addition to the above, a companion may provide companionship for the client such as keeping a person company at home or going with the person to appointments or other outings. The state law says that a homemaker and a companion cannot provide any hands-on personal care to a client under the registration issued by AHCA. Personal care means assistance with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, or personal hygiene, and assistance in physical transfer, ambulation, and in administering medication. Personal care cannot be done through this registration. See comparison of home care providers.

 

2. Can I provide services while I am waiting to receive my registration?

    No. You cannot provide any services until you receive your registration.

 

3. Will Medicare and Medicaid reimburse me?

    No, Medicare will not. However, if you wish to be a Medicaid Waiver provider of developmentally disabled persons or elderly persons, you will need to enroll through the Developmental Services district office of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities or through an Area Agency on Aging under the Department of Elder Affairs. Look in your phone directory for the office nearest you or go to the web site, www.myflorida.com and select "Agency for Persons with Disabilities" or "Department of Elder Affairs" from the government agencies.

 

4. Does the Homemaker Companion Services registration include Respite Care?

    No.

 

5. Is a Homemaker Companion Service limited to the elderly?

    No. It can also be for adults that are disabled.

 

6. Can a Homemaker Companion "flip a lever or handle" to switch oxygen from indoor tank to a tank which can be taken outside?

    No a homemaker companion service should refer persons who need assistance with oxygen equipment to a licensed home health agency or nurse registry for services.

 

7. Can homemakers or companions record blood pressure readings for their clients?
    No. Persons needing assistance with their blood pressure should be referred to a licensed home health agency or nurse registry for services.

 

8. As a Homemaker Companion I would like to travel with my clients as well as do chores, cook, etc.; how do I go about getting permission and is it even allowed?

    If you work for a Homemaker Companion Service, a companion is not prohibited from traveling with clients but cannot provide any personal care assistance to the client.

 

9. I have a Homemaker Companion Service for the elderly; can I provide services for children with this registration?

    No. Contact the Department of Children and Family Services for information on programs for children or go to the www.myflorida.com web site and click on "Children and Families" under government agencies.

 

10. Can my employees help the clients with their medication?

No.

 

11. Can my employees comb the client's hair and paint nails?

    Yes. Casual cosmetic assistance is permitted, such as combing  or brushing hair, assisting with make-up, filing and polishing nails but not clipping nails.

 

12. Can a homemaker or companion provide assistance with ambulation?

No.  A homemaker and  a companion is prohibited from providing hands on personal care  according to state law. The state law defines personal care as including assistance with walking.  “Assistance with ambulation,” is an ongoing action for an elderly or disabled person who needs assistance for all or most of the time, e.g., pushing someone in a wheelchair, or aiding someone walking with or without the use of assistive devices such as walkers, canes or crutches. 

 

13. Can a homemaker companion stabilize a client stabilize the client when walking, as needed, by holding the client’s arm or hand”?

Yes.  A homemaker companion may take reactive measures  only when needed to prevent falls and injuries to persons who generally need no assistance.   Once the person is “stabilized” and able to continue walking there should be no other need to hold the client’s arm or hand.

 

14. Can we provide staffing services (send homemakers and companions to home health agencies and nurse registries for them to use to serve their clients)?

No.

 

15. Can we accept clients who also need nursing services and contract with home health agencies or nurse registries to provide the nursing?

No.

 

16. Can we do standby assistance with bathing or monitor bathing? 

No.  Refer these clients to a home health agency or a nurse registry.

 

17. Can we pick up clients from outpatient surgery, take them home and observe them for any complications?

No. Refer these clients to a home health agency or a nurse registry. 

 

1. Do I have to have a nurse?

No. There is no need to have a nurse working for you. A Homemaker Companion Service is prohibited by Florida law from providing any hands-on personal care under the registration issued by AHCA; therefore, no RN is required and/or necessary. Do not accept clients that need personal care. Your business can only provide housekeeping, chores, errands, cooking, and companionship -- that does not include any personal care.

 

2. Can a Homemaker Companion Service hire certified nursing assistants (CNAs)?

    You are not prohibited in the law from hiring someone who has been trained as a CNA, but the person cannot work as a CNA under your Homemaker Companion Services registration. Thus, just hiring helpful persons who are good at housekeeping, laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and keeping people company is a better practice. Anyone you hire can only work as a homemaker or companion under this registration and cannot do hands-on personal care or health care services.

 

3. Do homemakers or companions have to have the following prior to going in home(s): TB tests, HIV screening, shots, and CPR?

    No. There are no requirements for homemakers and companions to have TB tests, HIV screening, shots or CPR under the AHCA homemaker companion services registration.

 

4. I have a level 2 conviction on my record, what do I need to do?

    You can request an exemption from disqualification by completing the application for an exemption at the AHCA web site under Background Screening. Call the AHCA Background Screening office at (850) 412-4503 for further information.

 

5. The wrong person is listed in www.floridahealthfinder.gov as our managing employee, how do I get this corrected?

    The information in www.floridahealthfinder.gov comes from your registration application.  Send a letter to the AHCA Home Care Unit, 2727 Mahan Drive – Mail Stop 34, Tallahassee, FL 32308 and notify them of the person who should be listed as the managing employee. State law requires that the person be level 2 background screened (fingerprinted), unless he or she has already been screened and this is verified by AHCA.

 

6. Can I have contractors or just employees with my registration?

    You can have both.

 

7. Can I have more than one person working with me?

    Yes. You should have at least one person working for you or you do not need to register. There is no law that limits the number of employees. You must ensure that all are background screened prior to providing services for clients.

 

8. Is there a law or a rule that states that I cannot hire 17 or 18 year old employees?

    No.

 

9. Can we provide homemakers and companions to other agencies like home health agencies and nurse registries?

No.

 

1. How do I file a complaint against a Homemaker Companion Services (HCS) that provides services beyond the scope of its HCS registration?

    Call the AHCA Complaint call center: 1-888-419-3456.

 

2. Are Homemaker Companion Services inspected or surveyed?

    No, but a field office surveyor may make an unannounced visit when a complaint is received by AHCA about a homemaker companion service. The most common complaint received is about providing personal care, such as services provided by a home health aide or CNA, without a home health agency or nurse registry license.

 

3. Can a Homemaker Companion Service share an office with other healthcare services pool?

    There is no state law that prohibits sharing an office.

 

4. Where do I apply for a Federal EIN Number?

    Contact your local IRS Office to apply.

 

5. How can I get my agency listed on a listing for elderly services?

    Call the area agency on aging nearest you for information on how to get on their resource listings. Check your telephone directory or go to the web site, www.myflorida.com and select "Department of Elder Affairs" from the government agencies to locate the area agency on aging nearest you.

 

6. What are the procedures for closing a Homemaker and Companion business?

    The state law [408.810(4) (a), Florida Statutes] requires that you inform the agency not less than 30 days prior to the discontinuance of operation and inform clients that you are closing and when. Immediately upon discontinuing operation, send the registration certificate to the AHCA Home Care Unit, 2727 Mahan Drive – Mail Stop 34, Tallahassee, FL 32308.

 

7. After closing a Homemaker Companion Service (HCS) agency, what happens to the client records?

    The state law [408.810(5) (b) (1) (2), Florida Statutes] requires the agency to remain responsible for retaining and appropriately distributing all records. If the owner has died or the agency has dissolved, the estate or agent of the agency is responsible. The following is to be done:
    (1) Make arrangements to forward records for each client to one of the following, based upon the client's choice: the client or the client's legal representative, the client's attending physician, or the health care provider where the client currently receives services; or
    (2) Cause a notice to be published in the newspaper of greatest general circulation in the county in which the provider was located that advises clients of the discontinuance of the provider operation. The notice must inform clients that they may obtain copies of their records and specify the name, address, and telephone number of the person from whom the copies of records may be obtained. The notice must appear at least once per week for 4 consecutive weeks.

 

8. Can I use a virtual office space?

No.  You must have a physical office located within your geographic service area (the counties appearing on your registration, in which you are approved to offer services). Please note that you may get inspected on an unannounced basis during the weekday if a complaint is received by AHCA. Also, your business name, your street address, and your telephone number will appear at the AHCA web site www.FloridaHealthFinder.gov.

Licensure Application and Related Forms Initial, Renewal and Change of Ownership Registration


HOMEMAKER COMPANION APPLICATION

Homemaker Companion Services Application for Registration

This application is for organizations that provide homemaker and/or companion services, as required in the state law, section 400.509, Florida Statutes. 

An individual who works alone and does not hire or arrange for others to provide homemaker and/or companion services can work on their own without registration and should not apply.

Please double check application for any missed fields, since this could delay the issuance of your license.


AFFIDAVIT

Affidavit of Compliance with Background Screening Requirements

Please note: Only fill out Affidavit of Compliance with Background Screening with Requirements if managing employee and/or financial officer already had fingerprints processed within the last five years by  an outside agency ( Department of Children and Families, Department of Health, or Agency for Persons with Disabilities).

 

Renewal Reminder Notices are no longer being sent by certified letter.  You will now receive a renewal reminder postcard at least 90 days prior to the expiration of your license.  To ensure that you receive timely notice, please visit www.FloridaHealthFinder.gov  to verify that your mailing address is accurate.   See the Frequently Asked Question on the Apply tab, #29 on this web page for how to make a change of address.  Please contact the Home Care Unit by email HQAHOMEHEALTH@ahca.myflorida.com or by phone (850) 412-4403 if you have any questions.

 

NOTE: If after reviewing the application forms, Frequently Asked Questions, and Florida Statutes you have additional questions, please call (850) 412-4403. Staff will be happy to answer questions, but cannot walk you through the application. Filling out the application is part of your responsibility as an applicant. The Agency's role in this process is to evaluate your application and, if there are items missing from your application once received, send you a letter that gives you another chance to complete the application successfully. If you need help in filling out the application forms, we would advise you to seek help from an attorney or a consultant.

Florida Statutes

TITLE XXIX, CHAPTER 400, PART III
HOMEMAKER COMPANION SERVICES

 

Statutes Image

Florida Statutes for Homemaker Companion Services

 Florida Statutes (Title XXIX, Chapter 400, Part III Homemaker, Companion Services)

Licensing Procedures

New requirements beginning July 1, 2012

Chapter 408, Part II, Florida Statues

Updates

Memo on law changes sent to all registered homemaker companion services

General Information

 

Background Screening for Homemaker Companion Services

Applicants must have:

Level 2 background screening by scanned fingerprints for managing employee & financial officer

Already Registered must:

Get level 2 screening for all new homemakers and companions before hiring.

All homemakers and companions that were level 1 screened have a phase-in time in state law for getting level 2 screening.

(a) Individuals for whom the last screening was conducted on or before December 31, 2004, must be rescreened by July 31, 2013.
(b) Individuals for whom the last screening conducted was between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008, must be rescreened by July 31, 2014.
(c) Individuals for whom the last screening conducted was between January 1, 2009, through July 31, 2011, must be rescreened by July 31, 2015.

Click on link for more info on screenings, fees, and to find a LiveScan site near you:

Background Screening information

Also note -

Getting your "AHCA number" for scanning -- The above link refers to using your AHCA number for scheduling appointments for scanning or for the validation form used at the scanning site. AHCA number is the file number. New applicants will get a letter from AHCA with the number to be used for background screening after the application is received.  If you do not receive a letter after submitting your application, call the AHCA Home Care Unit for the number. Those already registered should follow instructions at the Web site.


 

 Renewals and Change of Ownership

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR RENEWALS:

Applications must be received at least 60 days in advance of expiration of registration.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR CHANGES OF OWNERSHIP:

The registration may not be sold, assigned or otherwise transferred per state law (408.804(2), Florida Statutes).  Thus, an application must be submitted for a new registration.  Applications must be received from the buyer (transferee)at least 60 days prior tothe actual change of ownership of the business.  It must include a letter signed by the seller (transferor) notifying AHCA of the coming sale or transfer to the buyer per 408.807, F.S. 

 

RETURN APPLICATION FORMS + FEE(s) TO:

Agency for Health Care Administration, Home Care Unit, 2727 Mahan Drive, Mail Stop# 34, Tallahassee, Florida 32308

 


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