State Budget Stretching Out Processing Time for New Home Care and Home Health Licenses

Pennsylvania has been working to rebalance its Medicaid Program expenditures for long-term care and support services to get more recipients into lower cost home- and community-based programs instead of higher cost nursing home care, including through the current roll out of the new Community Health Choices Medicaid managed care program and expansion of LIFE Programs.  However, the State Budget has not allocated funds for the Department of Health to hire more staff for processing licenses for new home- and community-based providers. 

The result is longer processing time frames for license applications, beyond the 60-days prior notice required by Department regulations (28 Pa. Code Section 51.3), for new Home Care and Home Health Care providers seeking to meet the increasing demand for home- and community based services.  New companies seeking to provide these services will need to factor in the new licensing time frames.

For new Home Health licenses (28 Pa. Code Chapter 601), the Department of Health current  projected processing time frame is 6 months to a year (including the related Medicare certification).  There are currently 580 licensed home health agencies in Pennsylvania.

For new Home Care licenses (28 Pa. Code Chapter 611), the Department of Health current projected processing time frame is 5-6 months.  There are currently 2,264 licensed home care agencies or registries in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has not reported any network shortages of licensed home- and community-based providers during the roll out of Community Health Choices in the Southwest (14 counties) and Southeast (5 counties) Regions.  Implementation of Community Health Choices in the 48 remaining counties (Phase 3) is scheduled for January 1, 2020; and, will test whether the current license delays are affecting network sufficiency there. 

A current and growing shortage of both Home Care Workers and Home Health Aides nationwide has been reported.  Forbes stated in their April 18, 2018 article “The Shortage of Home Care Workers: Worse Than You Think” that “Government statisticians rank home care as one of the nation’s fastest growing occupations, with an additional million workers needed by 2026; that’s an increase of 50% from 2014.”

Home Health Care News reported in their May 6, 2018 article “Where the Home Health Aide Shortage Will Hit Hardest by 2025” that “The number of new job openings for home health aides by 2025 is expected to reach 423,200, a growth rate of 32%….the expected workforce gap will also hit negative -446,300 workers by 2025….with all states needing more home health aides.”

                For more information about licensing for health care services facilities by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, you may contact Bruce G. Baron, Esq. at or 717-233-4101.