Demand for home health care services is growing across the country, including in Arkansas. With more and more Americans wanting to “age in place” or needing help managing a chronic disease or disability, now may be the time to start a home health agency in Arkansas.
Starting a private home care business takes time. You will need to meet the requirements for starting a home health care agency in Arkansas, including getting licensed. This guide will help you get your home health care license and open an agency in The Natural State.
Before You Apply for a License
The application provided by the Arkansas Health Services Permit Commission requires basic information about your agency, finances, and services. It may be beneficial to set up the admin side of your home health agency before applying for a license.
- Do market research
- Determine the need for home health services in your county. Arkansas has maximum limits for the number of agencies allowed in an area based on population.
- Get to know your competition, the services they provide, what they charge, and how they advertise.
- Write a business plan – This is a “roadmap” for your agency, helping you set goals and make crucial decisions during the early months and years you’re in business.
- Provide information about your agency, its structure, and key staff.
- Outline the services you’ll provide.
- Include budgets and revenue forecasts. You will need to provide budget projections for the first 12 months of business as part of your home health license.
- Choose a business structure – There are several options to choose from, including individual owners, partnerships, or corporations. You will need to include this in your application.
- Establish your business – New businesses must register with the Arkansas Secretary of State. You may also need certain permits to open a home health agency in your area.
- Sort your business finances – An Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS may be necessary to file business taxes, open banking accounts, or other activities.
Completing the Home Health Care Services Application Form
A completed application is required to get a home health care license in Arkansas. Medicare-certified agencies will apply for a Class A license, and non-Medicare facilities apply for Class B licenses.
Information required in the application includes:
- A Permit of Approval (POA) (Granted prior to applying)
- Details of your agency’s structure and ownership
- The core home health services and additional services you will provide
- A letter of support from a practicing physician who agrees to refer patients to your agency
- Information on the staff you will hire and your plan for recruiting and retaining employees
- Financial information, including budgets and revenue forecasts, to show your agency is financially viable
Protecting Your Agency
Home health agencies in Arkansas do not need business insurance to get a home health care license. However, by law, you may need Workers’ Compensation insurance if you have three or more employees.
While most business insurance is optional, you may still want to cover your home health agency. Unplanned expenses—like broken equipment, injury claims, and lawsuits—can prove devastating for small businesses. Your insurance policies could help you manage these and other risks so you’re not left out of pocket if the worst happens.
Arkansas home health agencies often buy policies such as:
Professional Liability, otherwise known as E&O insurance, protects your business against claims of negligence, misrepresentation or mistake, as well as document or paperwork errors.
Negligence claims and lawsuits are unfortunately common for home health providers. Professional Liability insurance can help protect your business if a client or their family is dissatisfied with the services you’ve provided.
General Liability policies can protect you against claims by an outside party regarding injury or damage to their property. In these instances, your policy will cover your legal expenses as well as your cost to replace or remedy the situation up to the limits of liability.
Home health aides often interact with members of the public. General Liability insurance helps protect your business if a third party (i.e., health professionals, suppliers, delivery people) makes a property damage or bodily injury claim against you.
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.
If your home health agency is certified to work with Medicare patients, then you will need to hire people with a home health aide certification in Arkansas.
Minimum Arkansas home health aide training involves:
- 75 hours of instruction, including at least 16 hours in a clinical setting
- Passing an exam that tests your patient care skills
As an employer, you can provide Arkansas-approved home health aide training to successful applicants or opt to hire people who already have their certification. You may also need to run background checks on new hires to ensure they are able to work with patients.
Growing Your Home Care Business
Starting a home health agency is one thing, but finding patients is another. Without patients to care for, your agency won’t be in business for long. A solid marketing plan can help you establish yourself in the market and grow your home care business.
Home health agencies typically use a variety of methods to market themselves. These might include:
- Asking for referrals – You will need to partner with a practicing physician that agrees to refer patients to you as part of getting a home health care license. However, you can also ask for referrals from family and friends, existing patients, local senior or disability groups, and other health professionals.
- Creating ads – You can advertise your home health agency through traditional media (such as TV, radio and newspapers), but this may be out of your budget in the beginning. Online and social media ads could be more affordable options for your startup home health agency.
- Brochures and flyers – A low-tech method, you may be able to leave behind printed materials with doctors, senior centers, and other local organizations (with their permission).
- Website and social media – Many people check home health agencies online before they decide to use their services. A professional website and business social media accounts can help you begin building trust with potential patients.
- Getting out in the community – In-person events can be great places to advertise your agency and meet potential patients. Renting a booth at a farmer’s market or community event could be a good place to start.
Insuring Your Home Health Agency
Starting a private home care business in Arkansas may help meet growing demand in your community. And business insurance can help you protect your growing home care business.
BizInsure understands home health agencies. We offer tailored insurance coverage from A-rated insurers that meet the specific needs of those in the home
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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