A measure championed by State Senator Omar Aquino to increase the availability of home health services and in-home care was signed into law Friday.

“The demand for programs that provide skilled, compassionate in-home care is growing,” said Aquino (D-Chicago). “This law addresses that need by expanding the pool of home health services that can provide critical in-home care to older residents and people with disabilities.”

Under Aquino’s legislation, professional licenses for home health, home services, and home nursing agencies will be valid for 240 days instead of 120 days. The new law also allows agencies to receive a renewal of a provisional license for up to 90 days while working toward full licensure, enabling them to continue offering services without disruption for thousands of patients who require in-home care.

In-home care workers provide essential services to seniors and people with disabilities so that they can live independently in their homes and contribute to their communities. Home health agencies have reported an inability to admit patients due to staffing and service shortages in recent years, with some agencies rejecting as many as 40% of new patent referrals, according to the National Association for Home Care & Hospice. Aquino’s law will ensure that home health agencies who are not in operation at the time of application for licensure will be able to operate on a provisional license as long as they are making progress toward full licensure requirements.

“Without home care, people often have no other option than to move into a nursing home, even if they aren’t ready – a choice that no family should have to face,” Aquino said. “By alleviating some of the yearly license renewal requirements and other administrative barriers, this law will help increase the availability of home health services and alleviate the stress on families trying to navigate care for their loved ones.”

Senate Bill 2271 was signed into law Friday and will take effect Jan. 1, 2024.