California’s Home Care Industry
Choosing a Home Care Company is an extremely important decision. The research and due diligence in choosing an agency should be no different than new parents choosing a nanny for their children.
In today’s market place the Non-Medical Home Care Industry is one of the most competitive industries in our economy. 35 years ago when I started Accredited there were only a handful of companies providing Non-Medical Home Care in our service area.
Today, due to an aging population, the impact of baby boomers on our health care system, along with the easy entry into this industry, thousands of home care companies are opening up and operating throughout Southern California. They include franchisees, venture capitalists, publically traded companies and individual entrepreneurs like us.
The Emerging Online Registry Phenomenon
Most recently, in the last few years “tech savvy” companies have been entering the market place in a fashion similar to Uber. This is extremely scary. You go online, choose someone from a list of pictures on a website, and the next thing you know that “caregiver” shows up at the home of your frail and elderly loved one. You never met them, you don’t know whether or how they were really background-checked, and you don’t know anything about their character.
With these online list sites, you have no opportunity for a conversation in person with someone from the online company about what your aging loved one’s care needs are, and no assurances about how they screen the people they send out (if they do any screening at all).
Worse yet, these online list sites state (in the small print, somewhere) that they are NOT the employer of the people they send out. Guess what? YOU are their employer. You are responsible for paying their payroll taxes and Workers Compensation insurance. And if anything goes wrong, if they cause harm or do something wrong or steal something, the online registry company is not responsible. You are.
The Most Important Questions To Ask
As in any industry there are the good and the bad, and when talking to a prospective client I stress that it is important to do your research thoroughly before you choose an agency. I always end our conversation with “buyer be aware and give a list of questions to ask the next agency they are calling.
- How long have you been in business?
- Who is the employer? The company, or the client?
- Do I pay the care giver or do I pay the Agency?
- Does the agency issue W-2’s or 1099’s to the caregivers?
- Are the caregivers covered by workers compensation?
- Does the agency conduct a criminal background check on all caregivers?
- Are the caregivers tested for Tuberculosis?
- Are the caregivers required to attend an orientation?
- Is the agency available 24 Hours per day 7 Days per week?
- What is the agencies policy on overtime?
- Is the agency locking you into a contract that will not allow you to cancel without notice?