In Florida, many families have caregivers come to their home to take care of elderly individuals. This can be done through a Home Health Agency or a Nurse Registry.
TYPES OF AT HOME CARE COMPANIES IN FLORIDA
Home Health Agencies and Nurse Registries are very similar but they have slight differences which you should be aware of for your family. We explain the legal differences below along with information to help prevent home health care negligence from occurring.
A Home Health Agency is an organization that actually provides home health services and staffing services where as a Nurse Registry is simply a “matchmaker” for families needing nursing care. A nurse registry will match a registered nurse or similarly licensed nursing medical providers, such as a Licensed Practical Nurses (“LPN”), to your family. Both types of organizations are regulated by the State of Florida.
IMPORTANT LEGAL DIFFERENCES
The distinction between a home health agency and nurse registry is important, both legally and in terms of the level of care you will receive. We explain the differences below:
LEVEL OF CARE:
Home Health Agencies will almost always supply you with either a “Home Health Aide” (“HHA”) or a “Certified Nursing Assistant” (“CNA”) to provide home health services. The level of training, experience, and qualifications of these types of medical providers is far different than licensed nurses, such as registered nurses (“RN”) and licensed practical nurses (“LPN”), who have more stringent licensing requirements in the State of Florida. A peer-reviewed study has demonstrated that quality of care in a nursing home goes up when it is by a registered nurse compared to an aide. Although this study pertained to nursing homes, we believe the same could be applied to the home health care setting.
COST OF CARE:
Home Health Agencies are paid for the work being provided by the Home Health Aide or the Certified Nursing Assistant. The cost of the care is usually dependent upon the level of skill and training of the medical provider. Therefore, those who have more training and qualifications, such as a Registered Nurse, will usually be more expensive. The tradeoff, as indicated above, is that the level of care should be higher with Registered Nurses. We strongly suggest in paying for a registered nurse as opposed to an aide.
A Nurse Registry in Florida is exempt from the licensing requirements of a home health agency and have separate legal obligations outlined in Florida Statute 400.506. One of the key differences is that the nurse registry must notify the patient or their family that the nurses being referred to them are “independent contractors” and that it is not the obligation of a nurse registry to monitor, supervise, manage, or train a caregiver.
Home Health Agencies and Nurse Registry organizations almost always require you to sign contracts in order to use their services. However, the terms of the contract vary considerably depending on which organization you choose. We strongly recommend you read these contracts closely as they will attempt to use them against you if you were to bring a legal proceeding against them for negligent services.
For those choosing between Home Health Agency or Nurse Registry in Florida, you need to understand the legal differences between them so that you can make an informed decision on what is the best for your family member in light of their financial abilities and their physical and mental health capabilities.
If you need assistance with choosing a specific organization or want us to review legal paperwork before choosing a group, we are happy to help you.