Monday, February 18, 2008

What do you thing about the Federal Government encouraging Self Directed Home Care?

Medicaid beneficiaries who need help living at home could soon choose to receive a cash allowance to hire their own home care workers or even pay a family member to deliver their care.

Currently Medicaid beneficiaries who need help with activities of daily living like bathing and dressing must work with personnel employed by a home-care agency. But beneficiaries often have limited choices about how and when their care is provided, especially since agencies generally do not provide care on weekends or outside normal business hours.

Now, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a new rule that would give beneficiaries a cash allowance to hire, direct, train or fire their own personal care workers to help with things like preparing meals, household chores and other related services that help a person to live independently. Beneficiaries could even hire qualified family members who may already be familiar with the individual's needs to perform personal assistance (although not medical) services.

In addition, the allowance could be used for assistive technologies or home modifications that could reduce dependency on human assistance, such as a wheelchair ramp or microwave oven. The beneficiaries also have the option to have their cash benefit allotment managed for them.

"This proposal would give Medicaid beneficiaries significant new freedom to determine how their personal assistance services are delivered and by whom," said Kerry Weems, CMS acting administrator. "As health care is not simply an economic transaction, this proposal represents a fundamental shift that restores a person's ability to improve their overall health by taking greater control of his or her own decisions."

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What do you think about self directed care? What are you seeing in your marketplace? How is self directed care competing with your non-medical home care business?

Give us your comments below:

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Confusing terminology in "Home Care"

Here's an excerpt from an article recently published on the Oklahoman newspaper web site:

By Gary A. Brown
Vintage Visions

To most people, the terms "home care” and "home health care” are synonymous. Yet, in reality, they are different services addressing different needs and often provided by different agencies.This understandable confusion is compounded when seniors look for services in the Yellow Pages. "Home Care” and "Home Health” are both listed under "Home Health Services.”

Here's an easy way to remember the difference: Home health is medically oriented, and home care is nonmedical and functionally oriented.


Unfortunately, Mr. Brown himself is perpetuating the terminology problem. He's right about home health. However, "Home Care" means more than non-medical home care. By our definition, "Home Care" includes a range of services for patients and clients in their homes, including "home health," Hospice, Home Medical Equipment, Home Infusion, and Non-medical or Private Duty Home Care.

It seems like the non-medical home care sector is trying to own the term, "Home Care." But they do so without a full understanding of our industry.

What do you think? What terms do you use? How can we clarify this for our patients, clients, physicians, and referral sources?

Make your comment below:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wall Street Journal recognizes Home Instead Senior Care

The Wall Street Journal created a list of 25 high-performing franchise companies. Home instead Senior care was the only home care company on the list. Here's what they said about Home Instead.
Home Instead Senior Care, the franchise on the list with the highest average net-income growth, has benefited from the rise of the elder-care industry and is poised to serve a large demographic: baby boomers.

The franchise, which offers senior home-care services, is owned by Home Instead Inc., Omaha, Neb. Net income for the company's 705 franchises was up 331% over the past three years.

"The trend is still growing in the senior-care market," says Lori Kiser-Block, president of FranChoice Inc., a franchise broker firm from Eden Prairie, Minn. "People still need some help with their parents and need somebody to help them within their home or living outside their homes or living with assisted services."

An estimated 36.8 million people, or about 12.4% of the U.S. population, are 65 and older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2005 data. And that number is expected to double in size within the next 25 years.

Home Health Aide Charged with Larceny

This article appeared last week on the website for Channel 9 news in Albany, New York.

I am reprinting the entire article, however I'm deleting the name of the agency out of respect for them.

Check it out, then read my two cents.
A home health aid worker is facing larceny and identity theft charges after the Albany County Sheriff's office said she stole credit cards during a home health care visit.

Deputies said Shaquana Mayo, 19, of Albany, an employee of [agency name omitted], was assigned to care for a man in Colonie. Police claim she cared for the wheelchair bound man for the month of January, during which time she stole his credit cards and used them at ATM's, stealing a total of $500.

Mayo was released to appear in Colonie and Albany courts at a later date.
Here are couple of questions that come to my mind.
  • When was this caregiver hired ?
  • Did the caregiver have a clean criminal background check?
  • What kind of screening did this caregiver have?
  • Did the company cooperate with police?
  • How did the agency respond to the client when the offense was discovered?
  • Had the caregiver worked for other clients of the agency?
This brief article leaves more questions than answers. I realize it was little more than a police blotter, but this agency should have been in front of the curve. This article was published on the website, and appeared on the local news. In both situations the employer's name appeared prominently.

If this were my agency, my press release would land on the desk of every newspaper in every television station for 50 miles before the daily police blotter. My crisis management team would be making a phone call to determine which stations were carrying the story, and being certain that our company name was omitted, or that any extenuating circumstances were included.

Whenever my company name appeared in the press I would want to be a proactive rather than reactive participant.

Let's hear what you think. Do you agree, or do you believe that letting the story die as quickly as possible is a better strategy?

Nonmedical Caregiver Training and Orientation

Proper caregiver training is important. Jason Tweed, of all people, knows the importance of having caregivers in your home that know what they're doing.

There are lots of benefits to ongoing training including:
  • Increased job satisfaction for caregivers
  • Increase customer satisfaction for clients
  • Improved relationships with family members
  • Improved caregiver retention
  • Reduced risk for worker compensation injuries
  • Reduced risk of customer lawsuits
  • Reduce risk of public relations crises
  • Compliance with state regulations
  • Compliance with payer requirements

Training, however, when done right can be very expensive and very time intensive.
  • How do you balance the benefits of quality training with the cost?
  • Do you do in-house training?
  • Are the public trainings available on your community?
  • Do you use packaged training programs?
  • Have you developed your own training system?
Share with us some of your experiences. You can share them anonymously, or include your contact information. Click on the word "comments" below to get started.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Cheryl Smith Receives Enterprising Women Top Entrepreneur Award

Cheryl Smith, CEO and Founder of Kansas City Home Care, Kansas City, MO is being recognized as 2008 Enterprising Woman of the Year by Enterprising Women Magazine. The awards will be presented during a Gala celebration during a three day tribute February 28 to March 1 at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Cheryl is one of the founding board members of the National Private Duty Association, and served as chair of the NPDA annual conference for the first four years.

Congratulations to Cheryl on receiving this prestigious award.
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