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Categories of Home Care Providers

There are seven different categories of home care providers. These categories are described below. Some providers may offer more than one type of care. For example, a Medicare-certified home health agency might also offer home care aide or hospice services, or a home infusion pharmacy might additionally provide skilled nursing care and home medical equipment.

Medicare-Certified Home Health Agency

As required by the Medicare Conditions of Participation, these agencies must provide skilled nursing as well as one or more additional therapeutic services, including home health aides, physical, occupational or speech therapy, and medical social services. Medicare-certified home health agencies are licensed by the State of California, are certified to participate in Medicare, and typically provide skilled services on an intermittent basis to Medicare beneficiaries or other individuals with acute conditions.

Licensed Home Health Agencies

These agencies provide skilled nursing and, frequently, other services in the home, including continuous care and home care aide services. These agencies specialize in working with private insurance companies, although many are also certified to accept Medicare or Medi-Cal. Home health agencies are certified by the state of California and the services provided are similar to those provided by Medicare-certified home health agencies.


Hospices provide a specialized interdisciplinary program designed to give palliative care to the terminally ill and supportive care for the primary caregiver and family members. Medicare-certified hospices must meet the Hospice Medicare Conditions of Participation and new California hospices must also be licensed by the State of California.

Home Care Aide Organizations

These companies provide a wide variety of supportive services such as assistance with home management and non-medical personal care. Home care aide organizations may offer such services as homemaking, meal preparation, live-in attendants, supervision and assistance with feeding, dressing, bathing and toileting, respite/companion and child care, and escort or transportation services. Home Care Aide Organizations are licensed by the State of California.

Home Infusion Pharmacies

These companies provide pharmaceuticals and related high-tech services such as enteral or parenteral nutrition, pain management, antibiotics, or chemotherapy. They are licensed by the Board of Pharmacy. Home infusion pharmacies that provide or arrange for skilled nursing services are required to be licensed as home health agencies.

Home Medical Equipment Companies

These companies provide medical equipment, products and supplies in the home. They may also provide home respiratory therapy or specialized services such as home phototherapy, wheelchair rehabilitation, or home apnea monitoring. They are licensed by the Department of Health Services.

Interdisciplinary Professional Services

These companies provide home care services and products, such as physical therapy/rehabilitation, podiatry, or mobile x-ray or mobile laboratory services, in the home.

 California Association for Health Services at Home
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