Home Care Registry (HCR) Public Application Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Does the Home Care Registry have a Help Desk?

A. Yes. Help is available by e-mail at hcreg@health.ny.gov and by phone 877-877-1827.

Q2. Why is the HCR necessary?

A. The HCR is mandated by Chapter 594 of the Laws of 2008. It is part of an ongoing effort to ensure that the individuals employed by home care agencies to provide home care services have been properly trained and are suitable to provide services to New Yorkers in their homes. The HCR, when fully operational, will also be a tool that the public can use to get more information on potential home care workers.

Q3. Are Assisted Living Programs (ALPs) subject to HCR requirements?

A. ALPs combine an adult care facility (ACF) with a home care agency. Home care agencies and the Personal Care Aides (PCAs) and Home Health Aides (HHAs) that they employ are subject to HCR requirements. Adult care facilities and their employees are not subject to HCR requirements.

Q4. How does the public get to the HCR?

A. The public can access the HCR through the DOH public Web site at www.health.ny.gov.

Q5. If someone doesn't have access to the Internet, can they still access the HCR information?

A. Yes. Individuals without access to the Internet can phone the Help Desk at 877-877-1827. Help Desk staff can verify a person's training status and whether the aide is approved for employment.

Q6. Who is responsible for the information entered into the HCR?

A. The home care agency is accountable for the information it enters in the HCR. The training program is accountable for the information that it enters in the HCR. The Senior Official who signs the written sworn statement is accountable for the information in the written sworn statement.

Q7. Does the Department of Health guarantee the accuracy of the information in the HCR about personal care and home health aides?

A. The HCR provides limited information about home care workers who have successfully completed a "state approved" training program in New York State. Information contained in the HCR may be entered and updated by third parties, and the Department of Health does not guarantee the accuracy of third-party information provided nor endorse any individual listed in the HCR. It is the responsibility of those accessing the HCR to verify the credentials, employability and competency of any individual listed in the registry.

Q8. Will an individual's work history be available on the HCR?

A. Yes.

Q9. Is the HCR employment information for the worker reliable?

A. This information is self-reported. The DOH does not guarantee its accuracy.

Q10. Are employers required to enter information on convictions and findings?

A. No. Only DOH staff may enter this information.

Q11. When is a registry number assigned?

A. For aides who successfully completed training in a class that started before September 25, 2009, the registry number is assigned when the employer enters the aide's profile information in the HCR. For aides who successfully completed training in a class that started on or after September 25, 2009, the registry number is assigned when the training program certifies the student.

Q12. Could an individual have more than one registry number?

A. Yes. Instances of an aide with more than one registry number are rare and a result of user (i.e., training program or home care agency) data entry error. A registry number is assigned when a user enters an aide or graduates a student. The HCR application does not allow users to enter students and aides prior to searching the registry to ascertain whether the individual has already been entered. Duplicates are created when an individual is already in the registry and has a registry number, but the user fails to choose from the "use selected" list of matches and instead selects "no match." When the user selects "no match," the HCR creates a new record for this individual. When the new record is created a new registry number is assigned. Duplicate records should be reported to the Help Desk at 877-877-1827.

Q13. Is the aide required to sign the certificate?

A. No.

Q14. Will the certificate look the same for all HHAs and PCAs?

A. Yes.

Q15. Will the certificate number be the same number on duplicate certificates?

A. Yes.

Q16. Can an aide who lost her/his HCR generated certificate obtain a replacement?

A. Yes. The aide should request a duplicate certificate from the training program that issued the original certificate. If the training program has closed or refuses to provide a duplicate, the aide may phone the Help Desk at 877-877-1827.

Q17. When the HCR indicates that an aide is "Approved for Employment," what does that mean?

A. Workers who apply for employment with a home care services agency are required to undergo a background investigation which includes a fingerprint based criminal history record check that determines an individual's eligibility for employment. If factors that would disqualify a worker from employment are found, that person is deemed disapproved for employment and his/her status is noted as "No." Home care services agencies may not hire any individual who is disapproved for employment. If a DOH background investigation is favorable to the worker and the home health aide certification is current, the employee is deemed approved for employment and may be hired. His/her status is noted as "Yes."

Q18. What does it mean when the status is "Unknown?"

A. An "unknown" status may mean that an individual has applied for employment with a home care services agency and the background investigation is still pending. These individuals have not yet received a new determination by the Department as to their current employability in nursing homes or with home care service agencies. Their background investigation is under review. When the Department has finished reviewing their backgrounds, their status will change to either a "yes' or "no" with respect to employment approval. It is also possible that a person previously approved for employment may later become "unknown" if the Department receives new criminal record information which warrants further investigation. Likewise, a person previously not approved for employment may become a "yes" (approved) when the Department receives new information. The public and home care agencies are encouraged to recheck this database periodically for changes.

NOTE: An eligibility determination is only valid as of the date on which that determination was made. The Department is not provided with updated information about the worker. Therefore the consumer is always encouraged to ask for additional information about everyone who will be coming into the home to deliver services.

Q19. What does it mean when the status is "Never Reviewed by NYSDOH?"

A. The status"Never Reviewed by NYSDOH" includes the following individuals: home health aides and personal care aides who were working for a nursing home or home care services agency prior to the time (09/01/2006) that the Department began conducting background checks on individuals for positions in these agencies. These individuals were allowed to continue working without a background check. If these individuals never applied for work at a new agency after September 1, 2006, they have never been reviewed by the Department. In addition, any person who has been employed only as a "private duty" aide has likewise never had a background review by the Department.

Q20. Can an individual's employment status change?

A. Yes, an individual's employment may change. For this reason, the Department strongly encourages consumers to make additional reference checks on all individuals they are considering for employment as this database is limited in the information it can provide. This is particularly important with respect to individuals whose employment status is anything other than "Yes."

Q21. Can you please explain the information in the "Convictions/Findings" section of the HCR?

A. This section contains limited records of convictions or administrative findings involving abuse, mistreatment, neglect or misappropriation of funds by a personal care or home health aide while in a patient care setting. It applies to convictions and determinations in New York State only. Other types of convictions or administrative determinations, if any, and convictions and findings from other states, if any, are not reported. Administrative determinations are available for a limited set of patient care settings only. The information in this section is reported voluntarily by state and local agencies, and may not reflect complete and "up to date" information for the individual listed.

Q22. Does the HCR section on home care employment history include the reason for termination?

A. No.

Q23. Before having a new aide come to my home, can I search the HCR to verify the aide's status?

A. Yes.