2009-10-15 / Features

Hess Lauds IRRC For Approving Home-Care Regulations

Lawmaker championed legislative measure to benefit patients

Rep. Dick Hess (R-Bedford/ Fulton/Huntingdon) has announced that the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) recently approved regulations for the homecare industry that will benefit patients who require assistance in their homes.

“Those who receive services from home-care agencies now have an added layer of protection to ensure they contract with someone who has been certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Health,” Hess said. “In some cases, senior citizens and their families have hired an in-home care professional only to be taken advantage of, abused or robbed.”

Home-care regulations were required to be drafted and implemented under Act 69 of 2006, which Hess sponsored as House Bill 247 that year. As then-chairman of the House Aging and Older Adults Services Committee, Hess drafted this measure to protect Pennsylvanians who choose to remain at home instead of residing in a nursing center or medical facility.

The new regulations, which were approved by the IRRC on Oct. 1, will require home-care agencies and employees to obtain the necessary training and credentials to provide safe, quality services that will enable caredependent individuals to remain in their homes.

It is estimated that nearly 700 entities in Pennsylvania provide home care services for thousands of Pennsylvanians. Until now, care-dependent patients, especially the elderly, have been at risk of hiring agencies that provide these essential services without certification from the commonwealth.

Hess noted that at a time when the state and federal governments are encouraging individuals to retain their autonomy by residing in their own homes, home care is an essential community based service that allows individuals to live independently.

“I am pleased the IRRC has approved these regulations and that the home-care industry will be overseen to ensure our citizens remain safe,” Hess said. “Choosing to remain at home is a difficult decision for an individual and their families, and knowing that a provider is certified helps to remove any unnecessary stress throughout this process.”

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