How to find a home health care agency
Home health care agencies can be found in the phone book or online under Home Health or Home Health Care. Whenever anyone on Medicare is discharged from a hospital and is prescribed home health care services (for example, physical therapy following a hip fracture), a hospital social worker or case manager will present the individual with a list of Medicare-certified agencies to consider. When you find an agency, make sure it has been certified by Medicare, so that if the services qualify, Medicare will cover some or all of the costs for a designated period of time. Medicare certification also means the agency has met federal minimum requirements for quality patient care and management.
Be sure to find out whether the agency you use actually employs the caregiver or if it is a registry. A registry will refer, match or place a home health care worker in your home, but the worker is not an employee of the agency. Because registries do not employ the caregiver, it means that the caregiver often acts as a 1099-contract labor employee and that you are responsible for reporting this payment to the IRS as part of your income tax return. Depending upon your arrangement with the agency, you may also be responsible for employment tax withholdings. Some registries provide Workers' Compensation coverage, but make sure you know the extent of the coverage to ensure that the caregiver is appropriately covered while working for you or you may be responsible for obtaining appropriate insurance coverage.
You can look up how well a home health care agency performs by going to Medicare’s Home Health Compare tool
. If you cannot go online, call 1.800.MEDICARE.