AFL 20-49.3 From the California Department of Public Health
September 8, 2021
TO: All Facilities
SUBJECT: Suspension of Professional Certification Requirements for Home Health Aides (HHAs)
(This AFL supersedes AFL 20-49.2)
All Facilities Letter (AFL) Summary
- This AFL notifies all facilities of a temporary waiver of specified statutory and regulatory requirements for HHAs due to the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- This AFL notifies all facilities that the temporary waiver of specified statutory and regulatory requirements is extended until December 31, 2021, in compliance with Executive Order N-12-21 (PDF).
Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order N-39-20 (PDF) related to the COVID-19 state of emergency, the Director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) may waive any of the professional certification requirements and amend scopes of practice of Chapter 8 of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code (HSC) and accompanying regulations with respect to HHAs. Any waiver shall include alternative measures that, under the circumstances, ensure the facility treats patients while protecting public health and safety. CDPH is temporarily waiving specified HHA requirements and suspending regulatory enforcement of the following provisions as specified in this AFL.
Due to increasing circulation of more transmissible variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the rapid rise of COVID-19 incidence in California, and in compliance with Executive Order N-12-21 (PDF), the temporary waivers contained in this AFL have been extended and will expire December 31, 2021.
1. HSC sections 1736.2(c): HHAs in an active status are encouraged to renew following normal timelines. HHAs seeking certificate renewal may continue to work without completing the application process.
Effective December 31, 2021, the above waiver will expire.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for Health Care Providers (PDF) modified the requirements for completing the annual 12 hours of in-service training. The federal waiver temporarily allows HHAs to renew without submitting the required 24 hours of in-service training completed during the certification period, until the end of the first full quarter after the declaration of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) concludes.
All HHAs with an existing waiver must renew their certification prior to December 31, 2021. CDPH encourages submission of renewal applications well in advance of the waiver expiring. HHAs submitting a renewal application without completing the required annual in-service hours must write “CMS12” visibly on CDPH 283C and circle it. All in-service hours must be completed and submitted to CDPH by the end of the first full quarter after the declaration of the PHE concludes, or as otherwise specified by CMS. HHAs who complete their in-service hours are encouraged to submit them with their renewal application or upon completion. HHAs who do not submit their in-service hours by the CMS deadline are not eligible to provide care.
2. HSC section 1736.2: HHAs whose certification expired within the previous 2 years, or whose certification will expire during the state of emergency, may work as an HHA until December 31, 2021, without renewal. All facilities must check CDPH’s online verification page to verify employment eligibility. Only those HHAs with a status of “active” or “employable during state of emergency”, or who have a copy of their certificate that has been expired within the previous 2 years may be employed.
Effective December 31, 2021, the waiver allowing an HHA whose certification expired within the previous 2 years, or whose certification will expire during the state of emergency, to continue to work will expire. All HHAs with an existing waiver must be certified prior to December 31, 2021, to continue providing care.
Requests for program flexibility not specified in this AFL must be submitted to Healthcare Workforce Branch, CNA Review/eLearning & Licensing Section via email at firstname.lastname@example.org using the CDPH 5000A (PDF). All program flexibility requests are reviewed by CDPH on a case-by-case basis.
If you have any questions about this AFL, please contact the Healthcare Workforce Branch, CNA Review/eLearning & Licensing Section via email at email@example.com. Please include reference to AFL 20-49.3: Suspension of Professional Certification Requirements for HHAs in the subject line of the email.
Original Signed by Cassie Dunham
Acting Deputy Director