The need for greater consumer protection and quality service is prompting the Michigan Home Health Association to develop and promote state licensing requirements for all providers of home care. The legislation also would require staff qualifications, training and criminal background checks.
Home health care is an important key to independence for those who are ill, disabled or elderly. Home health aide employment is expected to grow 49% to more than 1.1 million workers nationally by 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These workers experience heavy turnover, do physically demanding work and usually earn meager wages.
Some of these aides will assist some of the approximately 1.9 million people with disabilities statewide or the nearly 1.2 million people in southeast Michigan projected to be 65 or older by 2035.
The number of home health agencies certified in Michigan has grown from 198 in fiscal year 2003 to 514 as of Sept. 1. There are an unknown number of agencies that are not certified. The federal government has guidelines for aides whose employers receive reimbursement for Medicare and some states require aides to be licensed.
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Safety Fears Grow With Demand for Home Care