Home Health Aide Training Program Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
1. Who approves home health aide training programs?
The New York State Department of Health and/or the New York State Education Department approve Home Health Aide Training Programs.
Agencies must choose to operate home health aide training programs under the approval of either the New York State Department of Health or the New York State Education Department. Home health aide training programs cannot be dually approved by both the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Education Department.
2. Does the New York State Department of Health maintain a registry of persons who have successfully completed a home health aide training program?
Yes, on September 25, 2009, the Department initiated a registry of all persons who have successfully completed a home health aide and/or personal care training program.
3. Who issues certificates to the individuals who complete the requirements of the home health aide training program?
The home health aide training program issues the home health aide certificates upon successful completion of the program. The Home Care Registry generates certificates for aides trained after September 25, 2009. Each certificate has a Home Care Registry number and a certificate number printed on it and is signed by the appropriate staff of the training program.
4. How long is the home health aide training program required to keep on file a copy of a certificate after an individual has completed the home health aide training program?
Home health aide training programs are required to maintain records for six years of those aides who received certificates upon successful completion of their program.
5. Can the New York State Department of Health verify a home health aide certificate as valid?
The New York State Department of Health can only verify that a home health aide training program existed at the time that the certificate was issued. For aides trained after September 25, 2009, the aide's certificate is generated by the Registry and based on information entered into the system by the training program.
6. How does a hiring agency verify that a home health aide certificate is valid when the home health aide training program is no longer operational?
The hiring agency must contact the previous employer, obtain a work reference and verify that the applicant worked in compliance with regulation as a home health aide (the previous employer may also have a copy of the original certificate on file that they verified at the start of employment). If records are not available and/or the previous employer is not accessible to provide documentation, the agency must advise the individual to repeat the training. For aides trained after September 25, 2009, the aide's certificate is generated by the Registry and based on information entered into the system by the training program.
7. How long after issuance does a home health aide certificate remain valid?
Home health aides in New York State remain certified as long as they work for a home health agency, which is certified or licensed by the New York State Department of Health. The home health agency where the home health aide is employed must provide nursing supervision and 12 hours of in-service training per year. If the aide leaves the employment of an agency to work privately in New York State or to work out-of-state, the home health aide certification lapses two years from the date that the person last worked at a home health agency in New York State.
8. After training is completed, what is the required timeframe for issuing a certificate to an aide?
The written sworn statement or certification must be executed (printed, signed and notarized) within ten (10) business days of the trainee's successful completion of the training program. Certificates must be issued to aides within ten (10) business days of the day the certification was executed.
9. If an agency has both a PCATP and a HHATP, can PCA certificates be issued to students enrolled in my HHATP who successfully complete only the PCA portion of the training program?
The HCR application does not allow the issuance of PCA certificates to aides enrolled in HHA classes. If a student is enrolled in an HHATP, that student must successfully complete the HHATP to receive his/her certificate. An aide who successfully completes a PCATP can be enrolled in a PCA Upgrade training, for which he/she may receive an HHA certificate upon successful completion.
10. Does a training program have to notify the Department of training program class schedules?
Yes. All approved home health aide training programs are expected to submit an anticipated schedule of training every six months to the appropriate regional office. Please refer to page 13 in the Guide and Attachment 5.
11. How long does it take to complete home health aide training?
Home health aide training programs are allowed 60 days from the day an individual enters the program to complete the 75 hours. The 75 hours includes 59 hours classroom and 16 hours of supervised practical training as follows:
Home Care Curriculum - 40 hours (all classroom)
Health Related Task Curriculum- 35 hours (19 hours classroom plus 16 hours of supervised practical training). At a minimum, fifty percent (50%) of each trainee's supervised practical training must be provided in a patient care setting. See page 4 of the Guide for further information.
12. Is there any flexibility in the requirement to complete training and evaluation within 60 days?
Extenuating circumstances which prevent a trainee from completing the required coursework within the 60-day time frame should be brought to the attention of the regional home care program manager on a case by case basis.
Tuition and Fees
13. Can home health aide training programs charge tuition?
A home health aide training program approved by the New York State Department of Health may not charge tuition but, a program approved by the New York State Education Department is allowed to charge tuition.
14. Can programs approved by the New York State Department of Health charge any fees?
A participant fee not to exceed $100.00 may be charged for materials that students are required to have; they will retain these materials upon completion or separation from the program.
15. Will training programs, which have lease dates that do not expire for several years, be held to the July 1, 2012 deadline for implementation of the new space requirements?
Existing HHATPs with lease start dates prior to Feb. 1, 2012 will be allowed to fulfill the obligations of their lease with the space requirement pushed to the next lease. However, the space requirements must be met by reducing the number of participants/class to meet the square footage requirement per person.
16. With the new guidelines in place, will I be required to close existing training sites?
It is not required to close existing sites. Choosing to operate a single approved HHATP that offers training at various sites under the direction of a designated sponsoring home care agency or hospice is optional.
17. Does an approved program have to notify the Department if their training program site has changed as a result of a move or opening of a new site?
Yes. The Department must be notified in writing of a change in training site prior to the change. Documentation must be submitted to the appropriate regional office program manager as the new site requires approval prior to conducting a home health aide training program.
In addition, if the training program makes any significant changes in faculty and/or nurse instructor for supervised training, the program must notify the regional office of such changes in writing within 10 business days.
18. With regards to the closure dates being the last day of training, should this be the last training day, testing day or the day the last certificate is issued?
Sites are required to stay open until all trainees who successfully complete all training requirements are issued their certificates.
Program Training Requirements
19. Do training programs have to do anything to maintain ongoing approval of their home health aide training program?
The training program must conduct one full 75-hour training program class every three (3) years, and approve and issue at least one original certificate per year in order to remain an active approved program. This would include a certificate issued for Competency Evaluation Program, Personal Care Aide Upgrading or CNA Transitioning.
20. Is each approved home health aide training program site required to hold at least one full 75-hour training program within each three year approval period to be reapproved?
The program requirements are program-driven, not site-driven. One full 75-hour training program class must be conducted within a three-year period to maintain an on-going training program approval. Competency evaluations, PCA upgrades and nurse aide transitioning are not full training (75 hour) program classes. Failure to conduct the full training program will require reapplication for approval.
21. Do existing training programs have to resubmit a new application for re-approval including new requirements? If yes, what is the deadline for submission?
Effective July 1, 2012 all existing HHATPs must comply with the requirements described in the revised Guide.
22. What individuals are eligible to complete the competency evaluation program only, in lieu of training?
Individuals eligible to complete the competency evaluation program only, in lieu of the standardized training, include:
- A nursing assistant with one year of full-time experience in a general hospital within the past five (5) years;
- An individual with documented home health aide or nurse aide training and competency evaluation from an out-of-state training program;
- A home health aide with documented home health aide training and competency evaluation who has not been employed as a home health aide for 24 consecutive months;
- A nursing student who has documented evidence of successful completion of course work requiring mastery of home health aide tasks within the past 24 months. Documentation would include a transcript with passing grade(s) and course description(s) or skills checklist signed by the nursing school instructor.
- Veterans who were trained in the United States Military as medical technicians or medics.
23. Where can I take a competency evaluation in lieu of training?
An agency that operates a home health aide training program can provide a competency evaluation which includes a written exam and a demonstration of skills.
24. How can a certified nurse aide become certified as a home health aide?
Home health aide training programs must have the capability to augment a nurse aide's training with classroom and supervised practical training in those skills not included in the nurse aide training program. Such skills include but are not limited to: assistance with medications; handling the patient's money; maintaining a clean, safe home environment; safety, accident prevention and responses to emergencies in the home; taking of blood pressure; and observing, recording and reporting in the home care setting. A nurse aide who is registered in the New York State Nurse Aide Registry is not required to repeat training in the content and skills learned in the nurse aide training program. However, the home health aide training program must assure that the nurse aide is competent in such skills prior to providing additional training and issuing a home health aide certificate.
25. Do aides need to have a copy of their competency evaluations?
Yes, the aide must be provided with a copy of the HHA Trainee Evaluation Form (Appendix 5 and 5A).
26. Are we to treat a CNA who has never worked but still has an active certificate the same way as someone who has had experience?
A CNA who is registered in the NYS Nurse Aide Registry is not required to repeat training in the content and skills learned in a previous training program. However, the HHATP must ensure that the CNA is competent in such skills prior to providing additional training and issuing a home health aide certificate.
Training and Testing Materials
27. Will DOH have a list of acceptable published text books which comprises the "bank" of published test questions?
The Department will not publish a list of acceptable published text books.
28. Does "questions should be rotated" mean that students in the same class should be taking a different test or that we should be utilizing a different test with each class we have and rotate that way?
Each new class should be given a new test. If a trainee has to retake the exam after an unsuccessful attempt this new test must be a different version than the previous test taken. The program should develop policies and procedures as to how it will ensure that the test taking sessions are secure.
29. What is the minimum number of test questions to be given per Module / per Unit?
There should be a sufficient number of questions to ensure that the individual knows the material. The test bank chosen will dictate the number of questions needed to cover the material in each unit.
30. Will kitchen facilities be a requirement of the training program? Do we have to demonstrate cooking and cleaning?
A mock kitchen and running water are both required at each training site. Trainees are required to demonstrate proper hand-washing and the ability to prepare meals.
31. Must the running water be in the same room or in the bathroom on the same floor?
Running water must be accessible to the training class but it does not need to be in the same room or on the same floor.
32. Will items on the suggested equipment list be just that, suggested, or are they required at the time of survey?
The suggested equipment list was developed based on the requirements of the program and on the recommendations of the workgroup. Although it is a suggested equipment list, the training program must adequately address the training needs of the students.
33. Is it required that the textbook is available in the language that is being taught?
Textbooks and associated written tests must be available in the language that is being taught. The Department maintains the authority to review and approve a textbook to be used for this purpose to ensure that the curriculum meets the minimum standards.
34. Can the requirement for retaining the completed written tests be met by keeping the answer key?
No. A copy of the test to correspond with the answer key must also be retained.
35. Is it a requirement to keep a copy of the exam questions in each of the students' files or retain a master copy of the questions which relates to the answer key in the file?
You only need to retain a master copy of the questions which relates to the answer key.
36. Since the new guidelines go into effect for existing programs at the time of their re-approval submission, are the textbooks and tests currently in use acceptable until then as well?
Yes, the textbooks and tests currently in use are acceptable until July 1, 2012 when revisions will become effective for all Home Health Aide Training Programs.
37. Are we now required to use the HHATP form in Appendix 5 as documentation?
38. Do we still need to use the tests and check-off sheets from the old curriculum?
39. Must we submit a list of the videos we are using or only indicate we are using videos while an approved instructor will be in the room?
You must indicate (by name) which videos you are using as a supplement to the curriculum.
40. If a HHATP is approved through July 2014, do we have to make all the required changes by July 2012?
Yes. All administrative changes must be made by July 1, 2012 to remain in compliance. However, if a HHATP is planning to make changes to the curriculum, instructors, sites, etc. then you need to submit those changes to DOH.
41. Can there be more than one Nurse Instructor at a time teaching a class?
Yes, there can be more than one Nurse Instructor for a class, as long as each is an Approved Nurse Instructor.
42. What is meant by "under the supervision?" Does the Nurse Instructor have to be present in the classroom with the LPN or adjunct faculty at the time of the delivery of the class?
A LPN can be an adjunct faculty and provide some of the instruction under the direct supervision of an approved Nurse Instructor. The approved Nurse Instructor must be physically present during the entire time of the instruction provided by an LPN. An adjunct faculty such as a Licensed Physical Therapist or Registered Dietitian does not have to have an approved Nurse Instructor present during instruction.
43. How is the Nurse Instructor information updated on the registry?
The Regional DOH office must be notified of any changes in the nurse instructor. The attached nurse instructor application with specific documentation on foreign language must be submitted. If acceptable, the local regional DOH office will have the HCR updated.
44. Is it a requirement to notify the Regional Office of a substitute for part of the course or the entire course?
No. It is not required to notify the Regional Office of a substitute, however, the substitute must be an approved Nurse Instructor for the program and listed on the HCR.
Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement
45. The guidelines state that all programs are required to conduct monitoring on at least a quarterly basis. Do agencies with multiple sites have to conduct monitoring of ALL their schools in each quarter or is it permissible to conduct the monitoring of one to two schools per quarter as long as ALL the schools are monitored within the year's time?
Program monitoring is expected to be program-specific, not site-specific and performed quarterly.
46. Can the annual evaluation report be written minutes of a quarterly meeting?
No. Quarterly meeting minutes will not satisfy the requirement to submit an annual evaluation report. The annual evaluation report must include analysis and evaluation of program's educational outcomes that address the effectiveness of the:
- Lesson plans
- Equipment and other materials utilized to achieve learning objectives, e.g. videos, textbooks, etc.
- Evaluation of the supervised practical training site(s)
- Student evaluation of the program, including effectiveness of communication between instructor and students
- Analysis and evaluation of testing results, admission standards and program completion rates
47. Is each training program required to develop its own trainee rights based on the information provided by DOH in Attachment 4 or can the program use the DOH Trainee Rights form verbatim?
Yes, the program may use the DOH Trainee Rights form verbatim.
48. Do the trainee rights have to be given to trainees enrolled in Personal Care Upgrade, CNA Transitioning, Competency Evaluation Program, or should the trainee rights only be distributed to trainees enrolled in the full 75 hour Home Health Aide Training Program?
All trainees, regardless of the training program in which the trainee is enrolled, must receive a copy of the Trainee Rights. The Trainee Rights must be given to every trainee at, or prior to, the first class. The training program must maintain documentation of receipt of these rights.