Frequently Asked Questions About Senior Care
Frequently Asked Questions for senior care is more important in Arizona then in many other states because Arizona does not regulate home care.
Some companies compete by advertising the lowest caregiver rate. These rates are possible because of the classification of caregivers as independent contractors instead of employees. Classifying caregivers as independent contractors instead of employees restricts the company in providing supervision, training and enforcing policies. Additionally, senior clients and their families are at increased financial and legal risk.
Asking the right questions will help you select the right home care agency.
Over 20 Years Providing Arizona Home Care
“How long have you been in the Arizona home care business?” – is the polite question to answer the real question.
Our clients want to select a company that is reputable with an established track record and not a short-term operation. More and more home care companies have been closing their doors in Arizona. The length of time we have been in business is a testament to the quality of care you can expect to receive.
The company’s roots began growing in 1987 when our founder Karen Wellert started providing care for her first senior client. In 1996, Adultcare Assistance was established as her reputation for providing outstanding care resulted in more requests for services than she was able to handle by herself. As the company grew, we understood that reputation is everything. As was originally implemented and continues today, each new caregiver is trained to the high standards that the Adultcare Assistance Homecare reputation demands. Further strengthening our reputation, each caregiver is monitored by a field supervisor and required to attend continuing education courses held monthly.
Today, Adultcare Assistance Homecare continues to be an Arizona Home Care leader. Krystal Wilkinson (President of Adultcare Assistance Homecare) serves as the President of the Arizona Chapter of the Home Care Association of America. This is largest home care organization in the US dedicated to enhancing the strength and professionalism of private duty home care providers through education and best practices.
Caregivers Arrive On Time
Recently, a gentleman called and informed us that his former home care company used undisciplined caregivers. He was frustrated because his caregivers would arrive late, leave early and this company would not adjust his bill. He wanted to know our policy and procedures on timeliness.
Adultcare Assistance Homecare has a culture of punctuality. Our caregivers are required to arrive on time. If the caregiver is running late due to unforeseen circumstances or needs to change the client’s schedule, then the on-call supervisor must be notified immediately. We monitor when our caregivers are working through our investment in telephony tracking. Telephony is like a time clock, the caregivers call into a toll-free number when they arrive and leave. This system records both the time and location of the phone call. If the caregiver does not arrive on time or leaves early, then their supervisor is notified. Telephony has the added advantage of ensuring that our clients are not over charged.
Home Health Care vs. Non-Medical Care
Providing the highest level of home health care to seniors require clearly defining the boundaries of our services. Adultcare Assistance Homecare adheres to the national guidelines established by the Home Care Association of America. Our streamlined focus on providing the best caregivers for in home senior care serves three purposes:
- We are able to provide a higher level of care.
- We are able to offer a better value.
- Our clients and their families are happier.
Home Health Care Responsibilities
- Wound care
- Enemas or suppositories
- Tube feeding or intravenous nutrition
- Nasal, tracheal or endotracheal suctioning
- Insertion, removal or flushing of a catheter
- Postural drainage, cupping or adjusting oxygen flow (respiratory)
Often families ask us about these or other services. Fortunately, we have experience with many different situations. Requests outside of our expertise are referred to organizations that share our purpose and priorities. Sometimes, we find that the best care with the most cost savings for families are to have hospice, medical home health care or a geriatric care manager work alongside our caregivers. Families that understand and properly use all elder care resources receive better care at a lower cost. Regardless of your needs, we would like to talk with you and help you find the best solutions for your situation.
Arizona’s Best Caregivers
Adultcare Assistance Homecare maintains the highest standards through selecting, training and retaining Arizona’s best caregivers. We only select employees that pass our interview, field training and comprehensive background screening. Additionally, each caregiver is supervised by a senior caregiver manager to ensure consistent, reliable and trustworthy care.
Comprehensive Background Screening
Each employee is required to satisfy the requirements of our comprehensive background screening that we outsource to trusted professional organizations. Our screening process includes but is not limited to the following:
- Fingerprinting professionally administered by a former law enforcement officer
- Fingerprint Clearance Card Requirement – Arizona Department of Public Safety
- Residence Trace with Criminal Record Search – Nationwide, US
- Sex Offender Criminal Record, Multi-Jurisdiction, US
- County Criminal Records, Multi-Counties
- Statewide Criminal Record Screen
- Motor Vehicle Driving Record
- Drug Screening
Adherence to Our Employee Manual
Our employee manual helps guide our caregivers to make the best decision for our clients. Each caregiver is required to know the Adultcare Assistance Homecare policies and are accountable to them. This simple document and our strict adherence leads to trust and better care. Surprisingly, many caregivers working for other organizations in Arizona are not accountable to an employee manual. These organization risk losing their tax advantages if they have an employee manual for their caregivers.
Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS)
The Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS) is within Arizona State Medicaid program known as Arizona Health Care System (AHCCCS). ALTCS is a good program for seniors needing government assistance. The program is for individuals who are 65 or older, blind, or disabled and need ongoing services at a nursing facility level of care. Additionally, many Arizona Long Term Care System participants live in their own homes or an assisted living facility and receive needed in-home services.
ALTCS | Arizona Long Term Care System
Our clients typically do not qualify for ALTCS because for single applicants, countable resources cannot be more than $2,000. And, non-countable assets such as a home are subject to estate recovery. The estate recovery reimburses the government for ALTCS expenses incurred. As you can image, most affluent seniors and their families do not find these terms attractive.
So, we were faced with the decision. Do we try to substantially grow our business by accepting Arizona Long Term Care System? Or, do we focus on provide the highest level of care? Could you imagine a high end resort attempting to manage a budget motel with the same team? This would lead to a lack of quality focus and the high end resort would ultimately suffer. Likewise, we do not want to jeopardize the quality of care for our clients. Some of our private pay clients were previously with companies accepting ALTCS. These clients now enjoy their improved level of care and special treatment from Adultcare Assistance Homecare.
Insist on Adult Home Care Workers Compensation
Workers’ compensation, also known as workmans’ comp, is a state-mandated insurance program that provides compensation to employees who suffer job-related injuries and illnesses. This is an important question because not all in-home care companies pay Workers’ Compensation. If an Adultcare Assistance Caregiver claims a work-related injury then our workers’ compensation insurance covers the investigation and payment of that claim. Our clients do NOT have to purchase additional workers’ compensation insurance or a special home owner insurance policy. More importantly, Adultcare Assistance Homecare clients do not have the legal employer-related liabilities that they could experience with other adult home care agencies.
Adult Home Care Injury Fraud
Most caregivers are very honest. Only a small number scam work-related injuries for personal profit, but the damage they cause can cost unprotected clients a fortune. Families concerned about on the job injury fraud should insist that their adult home care company provides workers compensation to all their caregivers.
Adultcare Assistance Homecare has a zero tolerance for employee fraud and will cooperate fully with law enforcement agencies and our insurance providers.
Will My Home Owners Policy Cover Work-Related Injuries?
If you select Adultcare Assistance Homecare, then you do not need to additional insurance for work related injuries because this is covered as benefit with all of our services. Some adult home care agencies do not include this coverage with their caregiver services because they do not claim their caregivers as employees for tax and insurance purposes. An uncovered injury can cost a family thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages. The Special Needs Alliance provides more comprehensive legal information in the The Pitfalls of Caregiver Employment: Paying, Withholding, and Reporting Requirements.
Trump’s ElderCare Plan for Seniors
Republican Presidential nominee, Donald J Trump, was voted as the President-elect of the United States of America on November 8th. The 306 electoral votes tipped in favor of Trump, and Election Day saw both the House and Senate win Republican Party majorities. On November 10th, Trump met with current United States President, Barack Obama, to discuss a peaceful transition of power.
January of 2017 will mark the President-elect officially assuming his position as the President of the United States. Though the news of his Presidency ignited national unrest and global discourse, Trump has continued to make plans to delineate his Cabinet choices. As of November 22nd, President-elect Trump put forward an Executive schedule for his first 100 days in office. The plan outlines the basic social, economic, and political areas that citizens of the States can expect to experience change. Though Trump stuck by his campaign promises of building a wall across the Southern border with Mexico, and introducing developments in the economic system to produce more jobs, Trump also voiced his intended efforts to engage Congress in an attempt to repeal Obamacare and reform the health and insurance systems.
Throughout his 18-month campaign, Trump had consistently reinforced his intent to repeal the Obamacare system, which affects roughly 17 million American citizens today. Trump promises to implement a replacement Health Savings Accounts system; this would allow citizens to purchase health insurance across state lines and place Medicaid under greater state control.
His decisions to reform the existing healthcare system have been met with much opposition; nation-wide protesters argue against the idea of uprooting a functioning program without first establishing a solid and effective replacement scheme. However, the President-elect remains confident in the intended switch-over, promising that a new system will place greater power in the hands of the people and establish a fairer healthcare model.
ElderCare Act included in 100-Day Executive Plan
The 100-day Executive plan also outlines Trump’s ChildCare and ElderCare Acts. The ElderCare Act allows American citizens to deduct or eliminate eldercare from their taxes, in an attempt to reform the current taxation system in the States. Moreover, the ElderCare Act will work towards creating tax-free savings accounts for dependents and the elderly, with matching contributions for low-income families. These are the President-elect’s steps on introducing “fair and affordable” taxation and healthcare models.
To claim the anticipated tax benefits, families will need to ensure employment laws are fulfilled for their caregivers. Adultcare Assistance removes this burden, because the overtime requirements, employment taxes and worker’s compensation insurance are included as part of the service. As a result, families are requesting that we become the employer of their private caregivers.
Medicaid and Social Security
Currently, seniors make up 46 million of America’s total population. With aspects such as ElderCare, Medicaid and health models undergoing alterations, senior citizens may see changes in the coming months.
As far as income tax is concerned, Trump has reiterated multiple times that a single tax filer with an adjusted gross income averaging below $25,000 would pay no taxes. Seniors may experience tax-free income, and this could likely change the dynamics of retirement and pension funds. Regarding Social Security, the President-elect has made no clear statements apart from firmly stating he would not allow Social Security to be cut. All in all, keeping in mind Trump’s efforts to appeal to the wider base of senior citizens – a sizable chunk of which are reportedly his supporters – might mean decreased taxes and more affordable and accessible insurance and healthcare.
Health and Long-Term Care Insurance Benefits
Both health and long-term care insurance companies classify home care expenses as either medical or non-medical. Many seniors are learning the difference between the two when reaching out to us. For this reason, Adultcare Assistance Homecare counselors are experienced at helping families maximize insurance benefits.
Personal caregivers are classified as non-medical home care. Because of this, medical insurance does not typically cover services by a caregiver.
To better understand the health insurance policies, consider a doctor consulting with a patient being discharged from the hospital. The doctor prescribes medication, makes a physical therapy referral and recommends a change in diet. Medical Insurance will often cover the prescriptions and the physical therapy, but seldom is healthy food covered. Although, appropriate diet and proper level of personal care are vital to recovery, both are classified as non-medical and not covered.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Some of our clients do have supplemental benefits through a long term care policy. Long term care insurance typically does include provisions for personal private caregivers. If you have any questions about your specific medical insurance or long term care policy, then please call our office and we can walk you through the process to maximize your health benefits.