Home Health Agencies

Elderly woman getting her blood pressure checked in her home by nurseWhat exactly qualifies as a home health agency, and what is the law of the State of Georgia with regard to the services they provide?  According to O.C.G.A. Section 31-7-150, this term applies to a public, nonprofit or for-profit organization that furnishes home-health items or services, including physician-ordered, supervised part-time or intermittent nursing care, along with at least one of the following: physical, occupational or speech therapy; medical social services; or home-health aide services.  These services are administered on an hourly or per-visit basis in the individual´s permanent or temporary residence according to a written, signed treatment plan.

A person or facility providing home health services must be licensed by the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS), and all licensing questions should be addressed to DHS.

With regard to the advertising of such services, the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act [O.C.G.A. Section 10-1-393(b)(30)] sets clear guidelines.  It is illegal for an unlicensed person or company to hold itself out as a home health agency or to use the words “home health” or “home health services” in ads, brochures, letters or any other way—except when specifically advertising medical equipment or supplies, pharmacy services or infusion therapy.  It is permissible to advertise without a license under the category “home health services” in a publication that divides its advertisements into categories, as long as the ad and the company’s activities are in no way unfair, deceptive or misleading.   Violation of this law may be reported to the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection as well as to DHS.