Suspension of Professional Certification Requirements for Home Health Aides (HHAs)

Please note that this information has been superseded by a more recent item and is only retained here for reference.

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AFL 20-49 From the California Department of Public Health

April 24, 2020

TO: All Facilities

SUBJECT: Suspension of Professional Certification Requirements for Home Health Aides (HHAs)

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.

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 described below:

Renewal

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 until the end of the declared emergency.

Expired Certification

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 for the duration of the declared emergency 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. 

Criminal Record Clearance

3.  HSC sections 1736.1(a)(2), 1736.5(a), 1736.6(a)(1) and (g):  Due to the current inability to obtain Live Scan services, HHAs seeking initial certification, will not be required to submit proof of Live Scan completion until as soon as practicable but no later than 30 days after the expiration of the state of emergency.

As a result of this temporary waiver, facilities do not need to submit individual program flexibility requests to employ HHAs using the waivers specified above. Requests for waivers not specified in this AFL shall be submitted using the CDPH 5000A (PDF).

CDPH understands the importance of ensuring the health and safety of all Californians and maintaining vital access to health care services. CDPH will continue to promote quality healthcare and provide technical assistance and support compliance with core health and safety requirements, pursuant to Executive Order N-27-20 (PDF). CDPH is taking this unprecedented action due to the significant challenges California’s health care system is facing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This waiver is valid until the end of the declared emergency.

CDPH will continue to investigate and conduct enforcement activities for allegations of the most serious violations impacting health and safety, pursuant to Executive Order N-27-20 (PDF).

If you have any questions about this AFL, please contact the Professional Certification Branch, Aide and Technician Certification Section via email at hha@cdph.ca.gov. Please include reference to AFL 20-49: Suspension of Professional Certification Requirements for HHAs in the subject line of the email.

Sincerely,

Original signed by Heidi W. Steinecker

Heidi W. Steinecker
Deputy Director

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