Frustration with Rising Cost of In-Home Care Inspires Founding of Hallmark Homecare

Frustration with Rising Cost of In-Home Care Inspires Founding of Hallmark Homecare

Homecare Franchise Concept Cuts Costs and Provides High Quality Care to Growing Elder Population

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nevada (April 9, 2018)Hallmark Homecare, a nationwide referral service with a network of care coordinators matching elderly clients with the right caregivers, is increasing affordable in-home care options for the elderly as the aging population grows. Founder Steve Everhart realized the need several years ago after founding and serving as President of The Senior’s Choice, the nation’s largest and most recognizable membership network of senior care providers.

The elderly population in America is projected to more than double to over 98 million people by 2060. This growing population, which is currently made up of the large Baby Boomer generation, is also choosing to age at home rather than in nursing homes or care facilities. But, family members are becoming less likely to care for aging loved ones due to smaller families and more geographic scattering. Compounding the challenge families face in caring for their elderly loved ones is the rapidly increasing hourly rates charged by senior care agencies. The increased cost is due government regulation and new labor laws requiring third party care providers to pay caregivers overtime. These laws, in most states, do not apply to Hallmark’s direct hire model of care, which creates a far more affordable option for clients and their families. Hallmark is still able to provide high-quality care without losing the benefits of thoroughly vetted, experienced and insured caregivers.

Everhart, a successful entrepreneur who has built several other businesses, was inspired by his grandmother’s struggle to stay alive outside of her home. He founded The Senior’s Choice as a solution to this problem for other seniors in similar situations. When it became apparent that Everhart’s grandmother could no longer function on her own, the family decided to move her into a high-end, highly recommended care facility despite her objections. She wanted to stay in the home that she had lived in for decades and referred to as her “little bit of heaven.” Unfortunately, Everhart’s grandmother passed away not long after her move.

Moved by his love for his grandmother, the loss of his parents and desire for more seniors to have more affordable care options to age at home, Everhart established Hallmark Homecare in 2012.

“I was so close with my grandmother and parents; as the primary family caregiver along with my wife, it was difficult to see them move out of the homes they loved so much,” said Everhart. “I saw how their spirits shifted almost immediately. I became determined to develop a better way that benefits both the client and their family. It was very important for me to create a model that cuts costs without compromising on service.”

Hallmark Homecare is a referral agency that connects families with care coordinators and recruiters who search for the best suited in-home caregivers for families and their aging loved ones. Hallmark Homecare facilitates the hiring by the families. Families are able to hire the caregivers directly and have more voice in the care decisions. This cuts out the agency middleman and costs, saving families 30 percent or more compared to an agency-based homecare model.

ABOUT HALLMARK HOMECARE

Founded in 2012, Hallmark Homecare is a referral agency providing a network of care coordinators catering to the home care client segment that prefers to directly hire their caregivers rather than engage an agency. Hallmark Homecare was created by Steve Everhart, founder of The Senior’s Choice, the largest and most recognizable membership network of senior care providers in the world. Utilizing resources provided by The Senior’s Choice, Hallmark Homecare is an in-home care option that brings affordability to elderly clients and their families and ensures a legal caregiver by providing insurance and taxation compliance previously unavailable at a lower price point. For more information, visit peterd214.sg-host.com. For franchise information, visit www.hhcopportunity.com or call (888) 519-2500.

WSJ Underscores Hallmark Homecare Advantage

WSJ Underscores Hallmark Homecare Advantage

A recent story in The Wall Street Journal sheds further light on one of the many advantages of the Hallmark Homecare model of care: higher caregiver compensation. Caregivers placed by Hallmark Homecare earn on average 30% higher wages than their peers working at traditional agencies, which means increased caregiver satisfaction and lower turnover. The significantly improved pay rates available through our model also allows Hallmark Homecare to attract and place caregivers of the highest quality and professionalism. The full WSJ article appears below:

Help Wanted (a Lot): Home-Health Aides

Fast-Growing Industry Experiences High Turnover Amid Low Pay and Demanding Duties

By SARAH PORTLOCK

PHILADELPHIA—Dolores Streater works in one of the fastest-growing professions in the country. It is also among the lowest-paying and most-demanding. And, not coincidentally, it has particularly high turnover.

Ms. Streater is a home health-care aide.

Over the course of a day, she spends two hours commuting among her elderly and disabled clients, navigating public transportation and juggling an irregular schedule of primarily morning and evening appointments. She starts around 8 a.m., arriving at her first client’s home by 9 to help with bathing, dressing and breakfast. She makes sure her clients take their medicines, checks their weight and offers a measure of companionship.

She currently earns just over $10 an hour—she’s received several raises after three years at her company—and works six days a week. While she does receive health benefits and a transit pass, she concedes the work is still difficult.

“It’s a job and we all need a job in this economy,” the 63-year-old Ms. Streater said during a recent visit to a client here, adding that the work has rewards beyond a paycheck, including satisfaction from helping people in her community. “I’d rather make something than nothing.”

No major segment of the workforce is expected to expand faster in coming years than that of the paid caregivers who assist aging Americans at home. The jobs typically don’t require a high-school diploma, there is little required training and the average workweek is 34 hours.

The U.S. Labor Department predicts the profession will grow by nearly 50%, or the equivalent of nearly a million new jobs, by 2022. That is nearly five times the average for all occupations and above the coming demand for retail, restaurant or construction workers specifically.

But the main problem isn’t attracting new home-health aides, people in the industry
say. It is keeping caregivers in a profession that can be emotionally and physically difficult, and often offers only part-time work with limited pay and few benefits.

Turnover for home-aide workers is around 40% to 65% each year, according to experts and researchers, while the median annual wage hovers around $20,000, more than $5,000 below the other healthcare support occupations the Labor Department tracks. The workforce also includes personal-care aides, who help with daily, nonmedical tasks, and certified nursing assistants.

One of the country’s biggest home-care employment agencies, ResCare, hires about 2,000 new workers nationwide each month—but most of that is to replace workers who have left, said Chief Executive Ralph Gronefeld Jr.

“The challenge is finding people,” Mr. Gronefeld said. “The people that do this work are very special.”

Various states, trade groups and companies are now trying to find ways to broaden the appeal of the work and reduce turnover. The biggest obstacle for home health-care aides is pay.

The bulk of funding for the home health-services industry—roughly 73%, or $44.3 billion—comes from government programs, primarily Medicaid and Medicare, according
to the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, a home-care advocacy organization.

Some 15% of the industry is paid through private insurance and the rest by consumers out-of-pocket or other sources. But industry observers say those private revenue
sources have dwindled in recent years as families turn away from more expensive care options that would also drain their savings.

Karen Kulp, Ms. Streater’s employer and president of HomeCare Associates, says the industry is constrained by the state and federal Medicaid reimbursement system, which allows little wiggle room for pay. States determine rates for care, whether it is per visit or by the hour. But the payments must also cover an agency’s administrative staff, overhead costs and benefits.

“For us especially, our pay rates are based so much on what we get reimbursed,” Ms. Kulp said. “If we’re going to want to raise those rates, we have to think about reimbursement on the federal level.”

But Dorie Seavey, senior policy adviser at the paraprofessional group, says rates are largely set on an as-needed basis to meet demand for care and determined in response to a state’s particular budget outlook at the time or other factors. Further, there is little federal government oversight or guidance to update or change the rates on a regular schedule.

Those ad hoc rate-setting methods rarely allow for an evaluation if wages are adequate or reasonable, she said. “It really is the key impediment to improving compensation.”

Ms. Kulp addresses these challenges by running as lean an organization as she can while still offering her employees $9 to $10 an hour, overtime, benefits, and pay raises the longer they stay. “Our philosophy is that in order to provide quality care, you have to provide a quality job,” she said.

A number of other changes are afoot within the industry to make it more appealing and stable.

Starting next year, home health-care workers employed by agencies or other third parties will be covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which guarantees the national minimum wage, currently at $7.25 an hour, and overtime protections.

Home-aide workers in some states have joined unions, affording them guaranteed minimum wage pay and other benefits.

Some agencies also see training beyond the basic requirements as another way to improve the quality of care and reduce turnover. At Cooperative Care in Wautoma, Wis., workers first go through a few weeks of hands-on training and don’t meet with clients on their own until they feel comfortable.

Tracy Dudzinski, the agency’s administrative coordinator and board chairwoman, has a larger vision. “People always look at this as the bottom rung of the ladder,” Ms. Dudzinski said, of home-care aides. “We should consider it a career lattice, where you can branch out into a specialty.”

Caregivers can complete additional training and focus on, for example, patients with dementia or those who are developmentally disabled. That extra training can translate into extra pay down the road.

“The more specialties you have, the more you make,” she said. “That’s the way it should be.”

Smile, There’s an Inexpensive Way to Combat Memory Issues

Smile, There’s an Inexpensive Way to Combat Memory Issues

Fading memories will affect most of us at some point in our lives. Whether our memory is altered by age or information overload, the “fading memory” population helps keep the sticky note industry booming. Our population relies heavily on sticky notes. We place them on the kitchen counter, the bathroom mirror or on the front door to remind us to take medication, call to make an appointment, or grab our keys with us before we leave the house.

According to the University of Cincinnati’s study on dementia, about 5 to 15 percent of people 65 and older suffer from some form of dementia – the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease. As people age, the risk of dementia increases. Moderate to severe dementia is found in 3% of those aged 65 to 74 and in 30% of those 85 and older.

Sticky notes are good reminders for things throughout the day, but in order to remain at home for as long as possible, it is important to create a system that works for your specific needs.

And yet, along with all these daily reminders, shouldn’t we also remind ourselves to smile? Studies continue to show that attitude and positivity help increase our ability to stay healthy and enjoy life.

According to The Mayo Clinic, researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

As a family member or caregiver of an aging parent, encouragement and compliments can help brighten someone day and improve their quality of life.

It’s so simple, yet so powerful. So, stock up:

6 pack of sticky notes = $6

1 black sharpie = $1.50

For a whopping $7.50, try it out and make someone’s day  🙂