CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Cumbersome certificate of need requirements are contributing to a shortage of in-home personal care providers for senior citizens, members of the House Committee on Senior Citizen Issues learned Wednesday.
Attorney Andrew Ellis said that companies seeking to provide in-home care services not only have to get a certificate from the state Health Care Authority, but must get a letter from the Bureau of Medical Services verifying that the services to be provided will not impose an additional financial burden on the state.
"I have clients out there who have the ability to provide personal care services, who have staff to provide personal care services, but can't get the certificate of need required by law," he said.
One client, whom he said had hoped to provide services in a 12-county area of Southern West Virginia, was denied a certificate after the Bureau of Medical Services sent a letter stating that there would be "nominal additional cost" to the state.
Meanwhile, an informal survey of 52 registered personal care providers around the state found that that virtually all had limited availability of services, and had waiting lists ranging in time from weeks to months, depending on the services requested.
In the survey, conducted Feb. 27 to March 11 by TSG Consulting, the personal care providers were asked about the availability of services for a hypothetical great aunt in her late 70s who lives alone and has no family in the immediate area.
In the request, the woman requires basic grooming and care in the morning and evening, and on weekends and holidays.
Nearly 60 percent of the providers surveyed provide services only on weekdays. Only two offered services on holidays.
Nearly 95 percent of providers also indicated that services are available only during normal office hours, usually either between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.