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Caretakers in Arizona can now apply to become a licensed health aide for free

The passing of House Bill 2521 makes Arizona the third state with such a program.
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 6:50 AM MST|Updated: Apr. 1, 2022 at 7:32 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- If you or a loved one is a caregiver, you know how tough that can be on the whole family, but a newly-passed Family Licensed Health Aide bill could help provide help.

Starting Friday, families can apply for free training to become certified as a licensed health aide. Parents are often forced to stop working if they have sick children who need help getting the necessary medical care.

It impacts families like the Gjacs from Surprise. In 2013, Laura’s daughter Tori was diagnosed with a rare disorder affecting her nervous system and needs constant care. Even though her family qualifies for a full-time nurse, they have not had one in the past two years because of the worker shortage.

“She is a sweet girl. She’s been through a lot. We try to keep her time with us happy and comfortable, and that is our main focus and me being able to stay home with her guarantees that,” said Laura Gjacs. The family does not qualify for social security, so the extra financial support is appreciated.

Under the program, parents and legal guardians of medically fragile children can receive free training to become licensed health aid (LHS) and be hired by a home health agency. Parents and legal guardians can become paid caregivers for their child’s lower acuity medical tasks.

One Valley health care provider, Team Select Home Care, says the program should alleviate financial pressures on families with very sick kids. They say it’ll also help take the burden off the overextended medical community, provide improved health care quality for children and provide savings to the Medicare system and Arizona taxpayers.

The process to get certified varies for each health provider. Team Select says their process takes just two days, “We will send off certification to the board, that process continues behind the scenes. Then we look to bring set patient and set parent on board as an employee,” said Marcel Martinez, a Team Select spokesperson.

Arizona has become the third state with a caretaker program. Colorado and New Hampshire have similar programs. Officials in those states report seeing a significant reduction in hospitalizations for home-bound children. Contact an eligible home health provider like Team Select to learn more about applying.