Thinking about starting a home health care business in Georgia? Home health agencies provide vital services to older patients, those living with disabilities, and people managing chronic illnesses. As the demand for home care services continues to grow, it might be an excellent time to start a home health agency.
Getting a home health care license is a requirement for starting a home health care agency in Georgia. However, it’s not the only step you’ll need to complete before you can start assisting patients.
This article covers the basic steps for starting a home health agency, including protecting yourself with business insurance and ensuring your staff has completed Georgia state-approved home health aide training.
Before getting a home health care license, you may want to take the time to set up your business first. This is because the application processed by the Georgia Department of Community Health requires you to provide basic information about your agency, including its structure and ownership.
To set up your home health agency, you may decide or need to:
- Do some research – Knowing what services are needed in your area, who your competition is, and how they do business could help you determine things like what services you’ll provide, how much you’ll charge, and how you will advertise your agency.
- Write a business plan – This is a “blueprint” for running your agency. Business plans typically contain information about your agency (i.e., ownership, key staff, services provided), financial details (i.e., proposed budgets and revenue forecasts), your marketing strategy, and business goals.
- Choose a business structure – Georgia home health agencies can choose from three for-profit business structures (Individual, Partnership, or Corporation) or several non-profit structures.
- Register your business – New businesses must register with the Georgia Department of Revenue to receive relevant licenses and permits and pay business taxes.
- Establish business finances – Georgia businesses typically need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. You may also need dedicated bank accounts for your business.
Applying for a Georgia Home Health Agency License
You must complete an application to get a home health care license in Georgia. Information required in the application includes:
- Business information, including contact details, structure and ownership
- Proposed services and staff numbers
- A notarized affidavit of compliance
- Pay relevant application and license fees
Protecting Your Agency
You do not need insurance to get a home health care license in Georgia. However, by state law, you will need Workers’ Compensation insurance if you have three or more employees (including regular part-time workers).
Business insurance may be optional, but it could be beneficial when you start a private home care business. Your coverage could help you manage unplanned expenses, like compensation claims, business interruptions, and negligence lawsuits.
As you start your home health agency, you might consider coverage such as:
General Liability insurance – Also referred to as Commercial General Liability (CGL) or “slip and fall coverage”, this insurance protects businesses against the risk of customer injury and property damage. This coverage helps you handle claims from members of the public that you and your staff interact with, like suppliers, delivery people, and health professionals.
Professional Liability insurance – Also known as Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance, this type of policy protects your business against claims of negligence, misrepresentations, or mistakes. Professional Liability claims are typically made by clients who allege some form of financial damage as a result of your services, products or employees.
Business Owner’s Policy – A Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) is a convenient and affordable way for small business owners to protect against several of their most common exposures. These policies combine General Liability insurance with other types of coverage, such as business interruption and business property damage.
Hiring Qualified Staff
Medicare-certified agencies in Georgia must hire qualified home health aides to work with their patients. Agencies can provide approved Georgia state home health aide training to staff or hire applicants who already have their certification.
Home health aide certification in Georgia requires:
- 75 hours of training, with a minimum of 16 hours in a clinical setting
- Passing a competency exam
- 8 hours of continuing education every 12 months
Grow Your Home Care Business
Finding patients is a crucial part of growing a home care business. Marketing is how people looking for home health care services will find your agency. Most agencies will use a variety of marketing methods, such as:
- Seeking referrals – Word-of-mouth recommendations are a valuable source of new patients for home health agencies. In the beginning, you may ask your family, friends, and wider network for referrals. You can also partner with other health care professionals and ask existing patients once you’ve got a few on your books.
- Advertising – While TV and radio ads may be out of your budget at first, online and social media ads could be an effective way to stretch your marketing budget.
- Printed materials – Leaving flyers and brochures at key locations (with permission) could also help you find new patients. Ask if you can leave them with senior communities, hobby groups, or in doctor’s waiting rooms.
- Online presence – People expect to find businesses online. Getting listed by search engines and in directories helps them find your agency. Setting up a website and social media accounts for your agency can help you build trust with potential clients.
- In-person events – Many home health agencies man booths at community festivals and farmer’s markets to meet people face-to-face.
BizInsure understands Georgia’s home health agencies
Starting a home health agency in Georgia takes time and effort. BizInsure can help you find protection that fits your needs so you can grow your home care business and watch it thrive.
As with any insurance, coverage will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this guide is general only and should not be relied upon as advice. The number of quotes provided varies between products, occupations and other underwriting factors determined by the insurers.
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