There is a growing demand for home health care services in Maine. With the oldest population in the country, starting a home health agency could be a great way to serve the state’s aging population, as well as those living with a disability or chronic illness.
Though there are many steps to start a private home care business in the Dirigo State, getting a home health care license is a key requirement. This article will cover the requirements for starting a home health care business in Maine.
Before You Apply for a License
While becoming licensed is essential, the application process may be easier if you tackle some business admin first.
The Home Health Care Services Agency application asks you to submit some basic information about your business, its structure, and the services you plan to provide. So, it may make sense to tackle these steps first:
- Do market research – Figure out what home health services are needed in your area, who your competitors will be, what they charge, and how they advertise.
- Write a business plan – Define your agency’s services, set business goals, create budgets and revenue forecasts, and build a marketing plan.
- Choose a business structure – There are several to choose from, including sole proprietor, partnership, or Limited Liability Company (LLC).
- Establish your business – You may need a business license and specific permits to operate your home health agency.
- Sort your business finances – Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS and set up separate bank accounts (if required or desired).
Apply for a Home Health Care Services License
To get a home health care license in Maine, you must first submit a completed application. As mentioned, you will need to provide information about your agency on the form. You must also meet suitability requirements, such as:
- Passing a criminal background check
- Showing that you are fiscally responsible (i.e., having a good credit rating, obtaining funding for your agency, etc.)
- Having healthcare or social services experience
- Management and supervisory experience
- Ability to comply with all relevant laws and regulations
You may also be asked to provide additional information about your agency and its management. This might include a copy of your commercial lease (if you are renting space for your agency) and a certificate of compliance that your building meets current fire codes.
An application fee must be paid when filing your paperwork.
If you are running a home health agency for the first time, you will be granted a provisional license. Once you have demonstrated that you’re able to follow the laws and regulations for Maine home health agencies, you’ll receive a full license.
Protect Your Agency
Insurance is not a requirement for getting a home health care license in Maine. State law does require you to have Workers’ Compensation insurance that covers your employees.
Though most insurance is optional, you might still consider it for your home health agency. Without coverage, you could be responsible for paying legal fees, medical bills, and other unplanned expenses from your own pocket. Claims and lawsuits can quickly drain your accounts and leave your agency unable to run.
Coverage you might consider for your home health agency includes:
Professional Liability – Otherwise known as E&O insurance, it protects your business against claims of negligence, misrepresentation or mistake, as well as document or paperwork errors.
Working closely with people can put home health aides and agencies at risk for negligence claims, particularly if a patient or their family is unhappy with the services you’ve provided.
General Liability – Also referred to as Commercial General Liability (CGL) or “slip and fall coverage”, this insurance can protect your business against bodily injury or property damage lawsuits from outside parties.
While you work primarily with patients, you and your staff may also interact with other members of the public. A General Liability policy helps protect you against claims made by a patient’s family members or friends, suppliers, and delivery people who visit your offices.
Business Owner’s Policy – Also known as a BOP, this is a combination of policies, combining covers such as General Liability insurance and business personal property coverage, to help protect small businesses from costly interruptions to service.
A BOP can help you handle a variety of claims—from broken equipment to unplanned business interruptions—with one convenient and affordable policy.
Home health agencies must hire qualified individuals to be home health aides or provide in-house home health training that meets the state’s requirements.
Home health aide certification in Maine is similar to becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Home health aides must complete 180 hours of training, including 70 hours in a clinical setting. This is much more than the federal minimum (75 hours, with 16 clinical) and more than any other state in the country.
Once qualified, home health aides must be placed on the Maine Registry of Certified Nursing Assistants & Direct Care Workers.
Insurance Solutions for Home Health Agencies
Starting a home health agency in Maine is a wonderful way to serve your local community and meet the demands of the state’s aging population. While getting a home health care license is essential, protecting your agency may be just as important.
BizInsure understands the needs of Maine’s home health agencies. We offer A-rated insurance solutions tailored to the unique needs of the industry at competitive prices. Even better, you can be covered instantly, so your home health agency is protected from day one!
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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