Home health care agencies provide in-home care primarily to seniors, but also persons with disabilities. These agencies are in demand as the senior citizen demographic increases in the United States–particularly in the state of Florida–-and an entrepreneur experienced in providing health care can make a good living. In fact, the average compensation for a home health manager recorded by the United States' Bureau of Labor and Statistics exceeded $83,000 in 2007, according to U.S. News. & World Report. To open a home health care agency in Florida, you will need to complete some preparatory steps.
Review the census to determine which areas in your Florida locality most need a home health care agency. Go to the United States Census Bureau's website and research the areas near you that have a high population of senior citizens as these areas will have the largest potential client base. Also look through local newspapers and real estate publications to see what retirement communities are advertising properties for sale as retirement communities will provide an ideal client base.
Get licensed by the state of Florida. The Florida Department of Health's Division of Medical Quality Assurance requires health care professionals and professional agencies to be licensed to operate legally. Go to the Florida Department of Health's Division of Medical Quality Assurance website and navigate to the "My License" link located on the left side of the website to begin the licensing process.
Acquire a surety bond. Home health care agencies are required to carry a surety bond by the state of Florida. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration's website says, "(home health care agencies) must file a surety bond of at least $500,000, payable to the agency, which guarantees that the health care clinic will act in full conformity with all legal requirements for operation."
Obtain financing. Visit the Small Business Administration online and navigate to the "Financial Assistance" section. There you will find SBA-approved small business loan providers as well as information about obtaining a business loan. You may also seek financing individually from venture capitalists and through a local Florida banking institution.
Insure your Florida-based home health agency. Contact a licensed Florida insurance agent and ask what legal requirements you must meet for insuring your home health care agency. Among the types of insurance you will need are liability and medical malpractice.
Get set up to accept Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance. Telephone the Florida Medicaid office and ask how to become an approved home health care provider. Provide the Florida Medicaid office with a copy of your home health care agency's license, insurance, and surety bond to become an approved service provider. In addition, telephone health insurance agencies that operate in Florida, such as Aetna and Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and ask how to become an approved health care provider.
Locate office space. Your home health care agency will need professional office space from which to operate. The space should have at least one office, a reception area and a conference room for employee meetings and first-time client consultations.
Hire employees. Contact a local Florida medical staffing or placement agency and inquire about hiring or contracting health care service providers. These will include, but are not limited to, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants and support staff, such as courtesy drivers and office staff. Also contact local community colleges and universities and ask to speak to the head of the nursing program to inquire about internships for health care students.
Owen Richason grew up working in his family's small contracting business. He later became an outplacement consultant, then a retail business consultant. Richason is a former personal finance and business writer for "Tampa Bay Business and Financier." He now writes for various publications, websites and blogs.