Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is Agape Health Services, LLC related to Agape Hospice, Agape Seniors, Agape Pharmacy, Agape Assisted Living, or Agape Nursing?
A. No. The other Agape, which own and operates institutional facilities throughout the state, provides care for individuals within their centers. We differ from them in that we only do not house people in our building; we serve clients in their homes or living environments.
Q. Is Agape a home health agency?
A. No. In the State of South Carolina, title “home health agency” is reserved for companies that have a Certificate of Need (CON) from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). These companies are “licensed” by DHEC to offer services. Moreover, they offer a full range of home-based medical services, including but not limited to: hospice, skilled nursing, physical, occupational, and speech therapy, wound care, administering shots, medication, bowel and bladder care, and personal care. The key distinction is that home health services cover primarily “skilled” nursing care. There are only approximately seventy (70) companies in the State of South Carolina that have the home health certification. No new certifications are currently available and you may only acquire one if an existing company goes out of business. The state has the option of offering new CONs as the population increases.
Q. What, then, is the difference between a home health agency, an in-home healthcare, or private duty agency?
A. The key here is the level of care. Home health agencies offer a full-array of skilled nursing service, performed by nurses; in-home health care agencies offer limited skilled care, as well as personal care; private duty companies only offer personal care. (See the next question)
Q. How is private duty care regulated in the State of SC & other states?/b>
A. South Carolina does not regulate private duty companies. They do not serve Medicaid clients and do not maintain contracts with the State. Private duty companies are free to make contracts with individual, businesses, and insurance companies, but they do not do any nursing care, they only offer care through companions and aides. B. Other states may require some sort of licensing.
Q. What type of care do private duty Companions and Aides provide./b>
A. They assist clients with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as: bathing, ambulation, grooming, and medication reminders, eating. They also do light housework and errands. A more full description of ADL care is listed below.
Q. What is the difference between a CNA, PCA, Companion or Sitter?/b>
A. CNAs must attend a school that is licensed by the State of South Carolina. They must take a minimum of 80 hours of training and pass a national exam before they are certified. This exam covers all levels of care that apply for persons doing unskilled home health, nursing home, assisted living, and hospital care. PCAs only have to demonstrate that they know how to do basic care for clients, such as transferring, taking pulse and BP, charting, etc. Sitters and companions are not required to pass tests. CNAs and PCAs who care for Medicaid clients must at minimum be able to:
- Read, write, and communicate with their clients and supervisors.
- Able to use the Care Call System
- Be fully ambulatory
- Capable of doing ADL care
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Other training in record keeping, ethics, professionalism may also be required of individuals. Doing other levels of care with HASCI CLIENTS, such as: Confidentiality, accountability, neglect and abuse, fire/home safety, disaster planning, first aid, medication monitoring, basic medical problems, record keeping, ethics, lifting, transferring, and orientation to traumatic brain, spinal cord and related injuries.
Q. What are the costs for your services?
A. Our fees range from $15.00 to $25.00 per hour, with the average being $16.00 per hour. The rate is determined by several factors, including: the number of hours that services are provided, the type of service needed, the times of the day that service is given, the location of the client, travel time, and the person who provides the care. (Personal care aides, Sitters/companions, CNAs and nurses have different rates)
Q. How will I know which rate I will be charged?
A. Our nurse or case coordinator will discuss all charges with you prior to your signing of our service agreement.
Q. Can I change my level of care as my needs change?
A. Yes. Our nurses will gladly meet with you in order to determine what changes you need to make to your level of care.
Q. Do you monitor your aides in order to see if they are properly caring for their clients?
A. Yes. Our nurses are professional staff call new clients on the day after our aide has been in to home for the first time. We will make at least two calls per week for the first month and one of our professional staff persons will visit you during your first month with us. After the first month, we will visit with you not less than four (4) times per year in order to ensure that your needs are being met.
Q. Are CNAs, PCAs, Sitters and Companions required to have yearly in-service training?
A. Yes and no. If they work for private duty companies, they are not required to do so, except if the company elects to require it. The companies that contract with SCDHHS must do yearly in-service training with their aides covering at least twelve (12) hours per year. Persons who work with clients who have special needs, such as persons with head and spinal injuries, must have additional training.
Q. Does Agape do private duty care?
A. Yes. We do private duty. We also contract care with the VA, SCDHHS and other agencies.
Q. Are aides required to pass medical and legal background checks?/b>
A. Agape requires all aides to have physicals, PPD (TB) or Chest X-rays, SLED background and Medicaid fraud and abuse tests before they are hired. The PPD/TB testing is done yearly.
Q. Are your caregivers bonded and insured?
A. All of our employees and contracting nurses are covered by our general liability and worker’s compensation insurance.
Q. Does the client have the right to choose his or her caregiver?
A. Yes. We will send a person that we believe will best serve your needs. However, if you do not want to use that person, we will gladly send another aide.
Q. Will the same aide come each day?
A. It depends on how many hours of care that you have and on the times of the day that the services are offered. We assign a regular aide to each client and have alternates to work as backups or on odd hours. For example, we do not want our aides to work seven (7) days a week. So we have weekend aides or alternate shifts to give everyone a day off when needed.
Q. Do you have a way of checking to see if an aide actually spends the time with a client that she or he is reporting to your office?
A. Yes. For most of our Medicaid clients, our nurses and aides must call the Medicaid Care Call line to report when they enter and leave a client’s home and they must list the services that were provided. For private pay clients, we use the time sheet along with our newly developed telephone & computer based recording system to keep this information.