HCA Ad Campaign with CBS-Boston Underway

Thanks to the sponsorship of six Alliance members, the HCA’s shared advertising campaign is off and running through the months of December and January.

AllCare VNA & Hospice, Circle Home, CareTenders, Comfort Keepers, Home Instead Senior Care and South Shore VNA will be featured on WBZ-TV and WSBK-TV as well as on the CBS-Boston website in certain areas of the state. Viewers will see shared ads from these six agencies and the Alliance along with a PSA featuring tips on choosing a home care provider.

The video clips of these ads are available below:

Ad 1: CareTenders – Comfort Keepers

Ad 2: Circle Home – South Shore VNA

Ad 3: All Care VNA – Home Instead Senior Care

Home Care Alliance Healthwatch PSA

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Boston Globe Names HCA Member Agencies as ‘Top Places to Work’

Home care is a tough and rewarding career, but now working for a home care agency could be one of the best places to be employed in general.

Several Home Care Alliance member agencies made a strong showing on the Boston Globe’s “Top Places to Work 2014,” where employee satisfaction surveys are used to judge how well companies treat their workers. This methodology propelled four agencies to be recognized on the annual list.

Comfort Home Care earned the top spot under the “large employer” category with an employee amount between 250 to 999.

In the “mid-size” company rankings with an employee number between 100 and 249 workers, three home care agencies made the list: Visiting Angels of Newton and Canton (#6), Able Home Care (#22), and Community Nurse & Hospice Care (#31).

Among the survey statements are the following:

 Direction: “I have confidence in the leader of this company.”

 Execution: “New ideas are encouraged at this company.”

 Connection: “My job makes me feel like I am part of something meaningful.”

 Management: “My manager cares about my concerns.”

 Work: “This company encourages different points of view.”

 Pay and benefits: “My pay is fair for the work I do.”

 Engagement: “This company motivates me to give my very best at work.”

The Globe invited 1,660 companies to participate in the 2014 Top Places to Work survey. Of those, 366 organizations employing more than 336,000 people went all the way through the process, allowing the Globe to conduct a confidential survey of their workers.

The Home Care applauds the agencies in the “Top Places to Work” ranking and all agencies that keep people healthy and independent at home.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Alliance Comments on Proposed LTC Insurance Regulations

Fresh off the heels of the Department of Labor Standards’ decision to drop private-pay home care licensing, the state’s Division of Insurance is accepting comments on regulations related to long-term care insurance.

The Home Care Alliance offered oral and written testimony on proposed amendments to 211 CMR 65.00 at a public hearing on August 1st. The regulations aim to set new standards for long-term care insurance policies, rate setting and cost controls and creates various consumer protections.

More importantly for home care agencies, they propose that home care agencies must meet standards set by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs in order to be covered under long-term care insurance plans. Given the impending gap in state oversight with DLS’ new regulations, the fact that those agencies with elder services contracts represent a fraction of private pay home care agencies, and that many agencies relying on long-term care insurance do not work with Aging Service Access Points, the Alliance suggested the following measures:

  • The Home Care Alliance’s Accreditation Program and unexpired DLS licenses should be placeholder requirements for long-term care insurance coverage until the state and advocates can pass meaningful licensure measures.
  • Home Care Alliance Accreditation allows workers who are not home health aides/certified nursing assistants to provide certain services in the home and DOI’s regulations should reflect that flexibility.
  • In the “sample definitions,” the Activities of Daily Living do not include “grooming and personal hygiene,” which is a traditional ADL and one that is vital to the well-being of people wishing to avoid facility-based care.

More details are available in the full copy of HCA’s comments, which can be obtained by contacting James Fuccione at the Alliance.

Those agencies or advocates wishing to comment have until 5:00pm on Friday, August 15th. Comments can be emailed to doidocket.mailbox@state.ma.us and the subject line should read “Docket No. G2014-0.”

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Alliance Presents Comments on DLS Proposal to Drop Private Home Care Agencies

A gap in the state’s oversight of private pay home care agencies will result from regulatory changes proposed by the Massachusetts Division of Labor Standards (DLS), a division within the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

Currently, DLS registers private pay home care agencies and has been falsely classifying them with employment and staffing agencies. After years of advocacy, DLS recognizes the misrepresentation and makes the appropriate change in their proposed regulatory changes.

The Home Care Alliance offered written and verbal comments at a public hearing in Boston held by DLS, which is making changes sparked by a mandate to update regulations relative to the “Temporary Workers Right-to-Know” Law, which became effective more than a year ago.

In addition to incorporating provisions of the new law into the Staffing Agency regulations, DLS is updating all of their regulations and proposing to drop home care agencies from their definition of “Employment Agencies” and to redefine “Domestic Employee” as a worker paid directly by a household or a family, among other changes.

The Alliance’s Private Care Advisory Committee reviewed the implications of this change for member agencies an approved comments on behalf of the association. These comments include the following:

The proposed changes from the Department of Labor Standards (DLS) recognize that home care agencies do not belong in the same oversight structure as employment, staffing and placement agencies. As much as this shift is welcomed, we must also acknowledge that Massachusetts lacks any other licensure or state oversight for home care agencies. The certified sector is subject to oversight from the Department of Public Health in their role as a federal quality and compliance agent. With an aging population, private-pay home care is a rapidly-growing sector with a rapidly growing workforce. In fact, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics places home care aides as one of the fastest growing occupations over the next decade.

With these significant factors in mind, and the gap in state oversight, we urge a commitment from and partnership with DLS and the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) to collaborate with the Home Care Alliance, its private pay agency membership, and other organizations to help transition away from DLS registration.

As part of the partnership and collaboration proposed by the Alliance with DLS is joint education and outreach to agencies regarding current state rules and regulations, information for agencies about the Alliance’s Home Care Accreditation Program, helpful information for consumers, and assistance in advocating other state offices and the legislature on the need for agency oversight.

The proposed regulations and a summary are available on the DLS website. Any home care agency interested in commenting can request the Alliance’s full comments and send a supporting letter to James Fuccione at the Alliance who will collect and submit any comments received. If agencies wish to submit comments directly, they can be mailed to Heather Rowe, Director, Department of Labor Standards, 19 Staniford Street, 2nd floor, Boston, MA 02114.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.



Seventy Agencies Accredited!


The Alliance hit a milestone this week, with a new total of 70 agencies currently Accredited!  To earn accreditation from the Alliance, each of those agencies submitted documentation demonstrating their compliance with fifteen separate measures covering client rights and protections, caregiver qualifications and skills, insurance coverage, and employment practices.  Details about the Accreditation standards are available on the Accreditation Page of the Alliance’s website.

The Alliance developed the Accreditation program because Massachusetts does not have a licensing program specific to home care agencies.  By their adherence to the fifteen Accreditation standards, private care home care agencies demonstrate their commitment to quality.

A complete list of Accredited agencies is available here.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

2014 Private Care Guides Are Here!

The Alliance is pleased to announce the publication of the 2014 edition of the Guide to Private Home Care Services, which will begin shipping next week.

The new edition... is three editions!
The new edition… is three editions!

New this year, the Guide has been split into three regional editions:

  • Boston & Northeastern Massachusetts (covering Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolks, as well as the city of Brookline);
  • South-of-Boston, Cape, and Islands (covering Norfolk, Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket counties); and
  • Central & Western Massachusetts (covering Worcester, Franklin, Hampshire, and Berkshire counties);

The new system greatly streamlines the user experience, showing customers and families agencies who provide service where it’s needed without overwhelming them with information.  The county-by-county cross-references have also been revamped, and our popular “The Agency Advantage” essay (explaining the benefits of working with an agency instead of a direct hire) is now prominently featured on the rear cover.

Copies will begin shipping next week.  Additional copies will be available for order on our website shortly.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Private Care Members Survey Open

survey_clipartIn order to help us identify needs and set our priorities for the coming year, the Alliance is asking its Private Care members to participate in our special Private Care Survey.  The survey asks 15 questions concerning priorities, benefits of membership, and the Private Care Guide.

The more input we have from our Private Care members, the better we can serve.  Please respond by October 23.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

2013 Private Care Guides Available

The Alliance will begin shipping copies of its new 2013 Guide to Private Home Care Services next week.

The Guide is designed to educate clients and families about their private home care options and to help them choose from our 132 member agencies that accept private pay, including those who have completed our Agency Accreditation Program.  Contents include:

  • Introduction:
    • Understanding What Home Care Is;
    • Understanding the Agency Advantage (New!);
    • Assessing Your Needs;
    • Exploring Payment Options;
    • Knowing About Agency Accreditation;
    • Finding & Interviewing Agencies;
  • Agency Profiles of 132 Private Care Agencies
  • County-By-County Cross Reference

The Alliance will ship copies of the Guide to all members, as well as every hospital case management office, Aging Service Access Point (ASAP), Council on Aging (COA), Geriatric Care Manager (GCM), Veterans’ Center, and dozens of other referral sources. Additional copies are available for order on our website, as is a downloadable PDF versionGuides are always available free of charge with no shipping charges on copies of 50 or less.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

HCA Responds to Questionable Northwestern U Study on Private Pay Home Care

The Home Care Alliance has responded to a Northwestern University report, titled “Hiring and Screening Practices of Agencies Supplying Paid Caregivers to Older Adults” that confuses different models of private pay home care and asserts that most aides are not properly screened or trained.  The report, from researchers at the NU Feinberg School of Medicine, appeared in the most recent issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The study authors telephoned agencies in Illinois, California, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Indiana, pretending to be looking for home care for a family member.   The information provided by the agencies over the telephone was analyzed and some broad and negative conclusions were drawn about the lack of industry standard practices for background checks, training requirements, and supervision. The report was discussed this week in the New York Time’s “New, Old Age” blog in a post called “Who’s Watching Mom?

Please see the Home Care Alliance’s response to this report and feel free to use this in the event that your agency receive media inquiries.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

2011 Private Care Guides Ship Tomorrow

Private Care Guides
The Alliance will begin shipping copies of its 2011 Guide to Private Home Care Services tomorrow.  The Guide is designed for patients and clients, both to educate them about their private home care options, and to help them choose from our 121 member agencies that accept private pay.

We will ship copies of the Guide to every hospital, Aging Service Access Point (ASAP), Council on Aging (COA), Geriatric Specialist and Oncologist, Veterans’ Hospital, and dozens of other referral sources.

Copies of the Guide are available  for order on our website, as is a downloadable PDF version; Guides are always available free of charge with no shipping charges on copies of 12 or less.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

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