A bill that’s being considered in the New Jersey legislature could have a direct impact on many services that connect individuals in need with home care and other service providers. Currently, referral services for home care and other types of support are not required to register as a health care service firm.
In other words, these organizations, many of which are websites that allow people to enter personal information and then receive a list of prospective care or service providers, are increasing in popularity, but do not fall under the purview of certain oversight and may not offer enough protection to those individuals or families utilizing their services to connect them with care providers.
If this bill passes the legislature and is signed into law, it would completely change the business model and landscape of many of the top services that essentially connect residents with prospective caregivers.
According to BillTrack50, New Jersey bill proposal NJA4043 ‘Clarifies definition of health care service firms and homemaker-home health aides’ by stating:
“This bill revises the current law to clarify that any firm that employs, places, arranges the placement of, or in any way refers, an individual to provide companion services, health care services, or personal care services in the personal residence of a person with a disability or who is age 60 or older must register as a health care service firm. The bill further stipulates that the Division of Consumer Affairs is authorized to take enforcement measures upon any person who operates a firm that is subject to this health care service firm registration requirement, whether the operations include the direct employment of individuals, the use of an Internet website or application, or any other process or business model. The bill also provides that, in addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person is liable for a penalty of $500 per day for each day that the person continues to operate a firm without registering as a health care service firm as required.”
This effort to further regulate the industry as a means of helping protect New Jersey residents from potential harm in an unregulated sector could have significant repercussions throughout home health care itself. It is unclear how much support the bill has garnered or whether it could be passed as currently written.
If it passes and the governor signs the bill into law, several popular referral websites may no longer be able to serve New Jersey residents.