Tips For Starting a Home Healthcare Business

The aging population growth and the preference of many older people to remain in their homes around familiar surroundings is one reason why home health care businesses will be growing in the years to come. Starting a home health care business requires research on the industry as well as state and local regulations, but it can be a financially rewarding business.

Below are several steps that have to be thoroughly researched and explored, but if done correctly will help you when starting a home health care business:

Review local home health care business regulations – each state will have rules and regulations regarding starting home health care businesses. Check with the local state department to determine which agency handles those regulations and request information. This is important to ensure that the business is meeting licensing and regulatory requirements from the first day of operations.

Determine services provided – researching the types of home care services to be provided can help determine if there is a need for those services. Research other local home care agencies to determine the services being offered. Developing a special niche of services will set the home business apart from the competitors, such as offering medical services if the competition only provides non-medical care.

Decide on the type of business entity – the business can be a sole proprietor, corporation, limited liability corporation, or partnership. It is best to consult with an attorney and tax accountant about which entity works best relative to tax liability, payroll, sales tax, worker’s compensation and business liability.

Obtain a business license – each business must have an Employee Identification Number (EIN) from the federal government. This number is easily obtained online, or by calling the IRS, and does not cost money. This number is like the business’ social security number for tax and liability purposes. Protect the number the same as a social security number.

Determine hours of business operation – will the home health care agency operation around-the-clock, or only specific hours of the day? This is where understanding the competition in the area can help with developing a niche that differentiates the business from competitors. If most home health care companies only provide daytime services, offering nighttime services can mean getting more business from customers who require evening or overnight care.

Develop employee requirements and job descriptions – if offering non-medical services only, the skills required by employees will be different than a home health care business that offers medical services. Finding quality, dependable employees can be a major part of operating a home health care business. Contact local CNA (certified nursing assistant) schools, as well as nursing or other health care training schools to determine availability of competent graduates on an on-going basis. Marketing a skilled, trained staff will solidify the reputation of the business. Developing long-term relationships with training schools and agencies will generate a supply of available qualified, licensed staff. All staff should be required to pass federal criminal background checks and random drug testing.

Obtain liability insurance – it is very important to have full liability insurance when operating a home health care business. Consult a licensed insurance agency to make sure that the insurance protects the owner, employees, and business from liability.

Apply for Medicaid and Medicare acceptance, as well as private insurance – many insurance companies are paying for home care services in lieu of expensive hospital or nursing home care. Applying and meeting the guidelines of all insurers will result in a wider range of eligible patients, as well as a reliable stream of income.

Determine minimum start-up costs, and work with local business start-up agencies to develop a business plan that will result in obtaining loans and funding for starting a home health care business. A business plan is not only for submitting to banks for funding, but will also serve as the guiding principles for the home health care business.

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Mystery Shopping Home Healthcare

Mystery shopping audits are an excellent way for home health care providers to gain insight into the level of customer service that prospective patients and their families experience during appointments. In fact, many professional medical organizations are actually encouraging the use of mystery shoppers.

In 2008, a report from a professional medical association endorsed mystery shopping as a way to improve patient care. The report said “physicians have an ethical responsibility to engage in activities that contribute to continual improvements in patient care. One method for promoting such quality improvement is through the use of secret shopper ‘patients’ who have been appropriately trained to provide feedback about physician performance in the clinical setting.”

Because of the deep level of trust that patients and their families wish to establish, the home healthcare industry can benefit greatly from mystery shopping audits. During home healthcare visits, a licensed nurse will visit the patient’s home and assist them with their daily needs — bathing, meals, chores and ensuring patients are taking their prescribed medications. The patient and their family must be able to trust the home healthcare agency, and that trust will begin during the initial meeting.

When it comes to evaluating a home health care agency, mystery shopping audits provide invaluable third-party feedback. The mystery shopping auditor poses as a family member of a prospective patient and inquire about services and attending appointments. During these appointments, the mystery shopping auditor will not just evaluate the level customer service that the agency provides; rather, it will evaluate every client facing aspect of the business. Does the staff work to establish a solid level of trust? Are they informative and helpful? Is the base of the operations well-maintained?

In addition to the standard client facing aspects of the business, there are plenty of obstacles that can affect patient satisfaction with home health care agencies. This may include scheduling issues, pricing discrepancies, brusque staff, lack of communication and confusing paperwork. All of these aspects of the home healthcare agency should be streamlined in order to help develop a level of trust with prospective patients.

The success of a home health care agency is dependent on customer satisfaction; if patients are not happy with the level of service they receive, they will go elsewhere. Mystery shopping audits for health care services can also take into account the agency’s handling and measurement of customer concerns. Additionally, a mystery shopping audit can provide insight that aids home healthcare services in identifying problem areas early, allowing them to respond appropriately to make sure small problems do not become large-scale compliance issues.

Because much of the business relies on trust, home healthcare agencies must continually re-evaluate their customer experience management plan through mystery shopping audits. Not only can these be extremely helpful in providing insight from the customer’s perspective, but they can also help to identify potential compliance issues before they arise.

High Paying Home Healthcare Jobs

Home health care is set to become one of the largest industries as far as medical health care is concerned. With a projected growth rate of around 50 percent over the next decade, the scope in this line of work is quite good. The reason home healthcare is in such demand is because of the growing number of elderly citizens who are in need of care. There are several nursing homes that could take care of the elderly, however, nobody can dispute the benefits of looking after the sick in the comfort of their own home. The good fact is that home based healthcare can also be given to those patients who require hospice care.

Among the highest paying home healthcare jobs is that of geriatric care and this is followed by a close second in care for younger patients who may be terminally ill or be incapacitated for a while. While the career options are not varied in this line, there are different positions that you could consider. Among the main jobs that are available is that of the actual home healthcare aide. Besides this you could also try and work as a placement agent to help facilitate families requiring such care get the kind of help they need. If you decide to join a healthcare agency, you could also act as an account manager for them.

Home healthcare aides are those who help patients live everyday life by assisting them with basic work like cooking their meals, dressing up, taking a shower and other such daily chores with a sick person may need help with.

As a healthcare aide you could find work by directly getting in touch with the family of the person concerned, or you could approach an agency and have them source work for you. Both forms of placement have their own good and negative aspects.

Working directly for a family has set of privileges and is a little more lenient in the way an aide functions on the house. As part of an agency the rules are quite restrictive preventing you in some cases from even sharing a meal at the house you work in. But the major plus point with the agency is that they will constantly be on the lookout for work for you. This means you will not go even a day without employment.

Running a Home Care Agency

Home care agencies specialize in providing personalized care to patients in the vicinity of their homes. Patients can have the best of both worlds and gain health care while being in proximity to their friends and family. The comfort of being in a familiar place makes their recovery much faster and also ensures that close relatives are not burdened too much for providing health care. If this area of health care has always fascinated you, you can decide to open up your own home care agency to provide such assistance to people who require aid. This can be quite a lucrative proposition and can kick start your career in a big way. Following are some of the steps to keep in mind before you can start your own home care agency:

If you have a medical background and possess some experience in this field, opening up a home care agency becomes much easier. However, even if you are completely new to this field but have an urge to help people in need, you can still open up a successful home care agency that although does not provide medical care but offers other services like sanitation, personal care, help in cooking, bathing a patient, etc.
You can look through your files and browse through your qualifications to scout for anything that may be suitable to this field. Any voluntary nursing experience or any other such knowledge can be very helpful in this regard.
The next thing that you need to decide is the kind of services that you are going to be providing. You should then get brochures and pamphlets published listing all the tasks that you will be willing to do. You should also mention whether you are going to be providing specialized medical services or general healthcare services.
You then need to figure out your budgetary requirements and determine how much capital you are willing to invest into your home care business. If you have a large amount of funds at your disposal, you can open up a home care agency on a large scale with a workforce of around a hundred people. On the contrary, if your budget is slightly lower, you can even have a limited staff and provide selective home care.
The recruitment of quality staff is very important and can make or mar your business. You can advertise to invite job applicants and then fish out those that seem capable and suitable. You should conduct a thorough check on the people you employ and ask to see detailed references from previous employers. Employees who have previous experience in the nursing field are likely to do the job in a more effective and efficient manner.
You cannot afford to ignore the legal aspect of your home care agency. To look after such details, you can hire a professional to help you get the documentation ready that may be required to obtain a license or permission from the state to run your agency.

The Coming Explosion of Home Healthcare

As the parents of Baby Boomers enter their golden years, the average age of the population in the US is quickly rising. The statistics show that the senior population will steadily grow over the next few decades, and reach 80 million by the year 2050, as all of the Baby Boomers themselves reach senior status. According to recent data, 82% of people said that they would prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible, much preferred over the other options of hospitalization or living in a retirement community. However, it has become impossible for many working families to provide the adequate care that their elderly loved ones need in the home. This has created remarkable interest and growing demand during the decade in home healthcare for seniors.

Of course, there are many considerations involved with both your patients and also their loved ones when choosing between a nursing home and home health care. These concerns can be based upon the seriousness of the condition, and how much care is needed for the affected individual. But a facility is often not necessary, and in-home care allows these senior citizens to maintain their independence and peace of mind in the comfort of their own home, with less expense, a critical component of reducing the cost of healthcare in this country. Home care also has better patient outcomes and quality of life on average than other options.

As the home healthcare option becomes more mainstream, the number of questions that are popping up within families are also growing. One of the most common myths of home healthcare is if the family is already helping, there’s no need for additional care. However, people who are physically or emotionally exhausted or guilt-ridden because of their own shortcomings simply cannot provide the best care. According to the research provided by the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide, family caregivers should neither expect nor try to be “on-call” 24 hours a day. Every caregiver needs respite and periods of relief.

Another belief is that if the senior can’t do their own shopping or housework, they simply shouldn’t do these activities anymore. Everyday tasks, like dishes, vacuuming or rearranging the basement or cleaning the garage, can be quite tedious for a senior with arthritis for example. Basics, such as organizing a closet, can be extremely exhausting for a cancer patient. These tasks are never ending and, if they become more difficult during post-op, or due to treatment or age-related conditions, they can take precious time away from patients in an already very busy schedule. But completion of these tasks is necessary for a high quality of life for your patients. When even the most basic daily tasks become overwhelming, or loved ones just need a helping hand, a qualified care provider is the best option to step in and help.

Another myth is that until the senior knows what services they need, they shouldn’t consider in-home assistance. But patients don’t need to know what care they need up front, that’s what qualified homecare professionals are for. Any reputable agency will perform a needs assessment, that will ensure the patient’s needs are accounted for and the attending Doctor’s Plan of Care is followed. Waiting until needs are quite obvious to all is not usually a recommended path.

Seniors may also be reticent to invite a stranger into their home. Safety is always a legitimate concern for seniors, especially considering the relatively rare but highly sensationalized stories that highlight patient abuse or breaches of trust. From a security standpoint, when you deal with well qualified care staff, from a reputable agency, this can help provide the peace of mind that patients and families need when arranging help in the home setting.

From a medical/patient outcomes standpoint, various studies show that in home care can be safer than the alternatives, and not only because of the one-on-one care. One recent study indicated that about half of infections could be linked directly to hospital care. Another study reported that, given they are seeking the appropriate treatment for their condition, patients with chronic heart disease fare much better at home compared to the hospital. And, ultimately, remaining home can be less stressful because it is familiar, which fosters a sense of comfort and calmness for your patients.

There comes a time for most ailing seniors to decide if they want home care or want to be in a nursing home. When factoring in the many benefits of staying in their own homes, added with the stress and apprehension of moving to a new home or facility (difficult at ANY age), it’s easy to understand the exploding demand for home healthcare.

About Home Healthcare Services

If you or anyone in your family is suffering from a disease or is on their way to recovery from a sickness or injury, hiring home healthcare services is sure to stand you in good stead and decrease your discomfort and stress considerably. However, before you go ahead and employ a home healthcare service provider, it is imperative to conduct a thorough research of the market in order to zero in on an agency that best suits your needs. The following tips and guidelines can be kept in mind before you employ such an agency:

The healthcare services that you choose should be provided by a firm that has been in business for a considerable period of time. Newly sprouted agencies should be avoided as their staff may not be as well equipped to handle tough and highly demanding situations.
You need to first determine the level of expertise that you want the employed person to have before you go looking for an agency. If you need a healthcare service provider that can provide assistance to a person recovering from a painful fracture or broken bones, you will need someone who has proper medical certification. This is because the healthcare professional may be required to perform certain daily tasks like stretching of certain muscles and guidance and strength training of the limbs that will ultimately help in a full recovery. You should be certain that the services you chose can fulfill the given criterion of your particular situation.
The healthcare services that you decide upon must be equipped with positive reviews and references. To gather knowledge about the same, you can visit certain websites that offer this information. You can also ask around in your circle of friends regarding the reputation and standing of the concerned agency. If someone has had a personal experience with the agency that is highly positive, you should definitely consider going in for it.
The number of hours that you need a professional to be present in your home must be clearly communicated to the agency in advance so that your needs are adequately met. If you need someone to stay overnight in your house, this should also be communicated to the healthcare agency so that you can be sure that they have staff to fulfill these requirements.
It is a great proposition to visit the agency and interact with their staff to gather an idea about their policies and the way the staff works. You should go in for a healthcare service that has an amiable, cheerful and friendly staff equipped with the ability to induce an atmosphere of ease with regard to the person to be cared for. If you encounter rude and unhelpful staff, you should consider going somewhere else.
The staff that you invite into your home must be verified thoroughly for credentials and background so that you can safely and securely leave your house without worrying about possible thefts or any other such crime. You should ask to see proof of certification and other qualifications before allowing any such professional into your house.