Home Care agencies in Colorado fell under state regulation for the first time back in 2009. This was the establishment of licensure for Class A & B agencies. As part of the regulation, there was included a sunset provision that the regulations needed a comprehensive review every 10 years.
Well, with the COVID pandemic, that comprehensive review had fits and starts. Most recently, in 2021 there were monthly Zoom meetings with CDPHE and stakeholders to go through Chapter 26 in detail. This revision process ended in September with the next step to put the revisions in front of the Board of Health for approval.
If approved by the Board of Health, CDPHE anticipates the final rules to be released in January 2022.
Here are the Top 5 proposed changes for Chapter 26:
* Chapter 26 was shortened from 8 parts to 7 parts, deleting Part 2 which discussed what happened to new and existing agencies at the time of licensure back in 2009/2010.
* Duplicative references to Chapter 2 regulations were deleted or reduced. Regulations for home care agencies are more built in to Chapter 26 to stand independent of other chapters.
* Requirements around developing an Emergency Preparedness Plan in Part 5 were beefed up to include: adding a risk assessment component, modernizing outdated language, bolsters existing requirements to ensure consumer and staff safety.
* Part 7 for Skilled Home Health agencies was moved to Part 6 and this section had some large changes, including: deleting the requirement for a Professional Advisory Committee, written summary report for Plan of Care was reduced from every 60 days to only with a 'change in status', added telehealth visits are ok for nurse aide supervision in certain circumstances, and a new section about standards for clinical records.
* Entire Part 7 (previously Part 8) for Non-Medical agencies was reorganized and updated, including: more flexibility for Governing Body/Administration/Agency Manager, PCW training requirements were restructured to create a stacked "homemaker" based qualification and then a "personal care worker" needing additional requirements, and telehealth visits for supervision being possible in certain circumstances.
These proposed revisions will require changes in home agency practices and policies. What exactly those changes will be are yet to be determined. Also, questions remain like how quickly surveyors will look to enforce new regulations.
Be sure to tune in on December 15. This is the same meeting that will be discussing staff COVID vaccine mandates, so it will most likely be a longgggg meeting.
I'll be sending out a recap of the meeting to highlight the results.
Happy Thanksgiving to all you wonderful people!