For many, many years, the biggest competition to the private duty agency has been the independently hired caregiver, working outside the system. That directly hired caregiver has one advantage over the agency- cost. The high cost of recruiting, screening, monitoring, supervising and coverage of mandated employee benefits raises the price of care. However, that cost is balanced against the potential for abuse, exploitation or just poor care. That saved cost, however, also has the potential to come back later, if and when that direct hire decides to file for unemployment, is injured on the job, or the relationship turns sour and the direct hire wants to retaliate in some way.
Several states (Maryland, Washington, Florida) have made it “legal” to use independent contractors as direct care workers, and for agencies to place caregivers, monitor and supervise them, but not be responsible for those typical expenses associated with an employee: paying and withholding taxes, and/or coverage under Unemployment insurance.
Senator Bob Casey, D Pennsylavania, is Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. He recently chaired a hearing on payroll fraud, otherwise known as employee misclassification. Employee misclassification occurs when an employer improperly classifies a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee. This misclassification can occur at the personal hire or the agency hire level.
According to the Senator’s website, “Employee misclassification occurs when an employer improperly classifies a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee. While laws vary, in general a person is considered an employee if he or she is subject to another’s right to control the manner and means of performing the work. In contrast, independent contractors are individuals who obtain customers on their own to provide services (and who may have other employees working for them) and who are not subject to control over the manner by which they perform services.”
According to a report sent out by the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA), and also detailed on his website, Senator Casey introduced the Payroll Fraud Prevention Act of 2013(S.1687), on November 13, 2013. This act is intended to help ensure that employees are not misclassified as non-employees.
Interestingly enough, just today, Sen Casey also just introduced a bill to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
According to his website, The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 would:
- Raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour in 3 annual steps of 95 cents each.
- Index the minimum wage to inflation (CPI).
- Raise the minimum wage for tipped workers from 29% ($2.13 per hour) to 70% of the regular minimum wage, in 6 or more annual steps of 95 cents each.
There are lots of changes coming down the pike for the home care industry. We’ll try to keep you updated as to how these will affect your home care agency. If you feel the need to communicate your agency’s services, try corecubed since we know the industry so well, and can help with communicating the positives of a good agency that pays well and employees their caregivers for client safety and long term in-home care.
The private duty home care industry continues to grow and continues to integrate into the health care delivery system. A very hearty industry welcome to the new executive director, Phil Bongiorno, who joins HCAOA after some prestigious association leadership in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, American Academy of Audiology, College of American Pathologists, and the American Public Health Association. He and the office are moving to DC to be in the middle of the action, instead of being in the middle of America where there old offices were in Indianapolis.
If you want to update your CRM, the new address as of January 6, 2014 is:
412 1st Street, SE, Lobby Level Washington, D.C. 20003
The new HQ is right next door to the action of Congress and the federal government as it is in close proximity with Capitol Hill and the Congressional Office buildings.
This is an incredibly important move for HCAOA, as it clearly positions this association to be the leader in the home care delivery model of the future, which will be a combination of government and privately funded services that all work together to assist with an aging America that wants to age in place in their place of choice, whether it be the original family home or a facility or some place that has become home due to family shifts in geography.
Welcome, Phil! We look forward to a long, pleasant and productive relationship.
Had a wonderful interactive webinar yesterday with a long term MOST client who has seen incredible growth in his business based on his strategy, his personalization, and his decision, based on money and results, to use corecubed’s MOST program as his basis for marketing his home care company. He has a strategy that he reviews annually, and each year he sticks with that year’s strategy, measures for success and then does more of what works in the next year while trying some new things.
Seems simple? Right?
Wrong for many. Right for a few. Most of our established and successful clients do understand that. However, only about 1 out of 10 new clients do. The other 9 out of 10 new clients a) really have no strategy that they follow and b) want a silver bullet to solve their business issues. And, they come to us with a poorly run organization and want us to market a service for them that is marginal at best. Marketing can generate interest and get the phone to ring, but the agency has to follow through with a good intake process, and then a good ongoing service that meets the clients needs.
Back to strategy. What are some strategies?
The best at what you offer priced to be the best.
The lowest priced, but dangerous in home care as quality is so very important in unsupervised home situations.
Specialists in some aspect of your service.
Focused on some aspect of referral sources: home health agencies with no private duty arm, the hospitals and their readmission rate targets, geriatric chronic issues and those who service those.
A helpful resource when someone needs care.
An expert in home care and/or aging and chronic issues of aging.
Fortunately, the MOST program does accommodate any strategy, and is priced to be affordable. To paraphrase our client, how could a home care agency ever match the price we charge for monthly newsletters, press releases, educational powerpoints, recruitment material, sales collateral? Why, creating one newsletter would cost an agency at least what they pay us for the one we create for MOST, and why spend your valuable internal time on that when you could be a) building relationships, b) getting in front of new prospects and c) performing in-home assessments or monitoring visits.
And, it was very interesting to hear how he has used our program over time. Since 2007 he has used the program monthly for changing needs to implement his strategy. He started with our suggestion of a monthly theme, and, using a different theme each month, he has grown his online and in-house resources. He now has PPTS, press releases, banners on his website, resource links and downloadable resource sheets on his website, a complete collection of ads for selling and recruiting, ongoing SEO implementation and blog writing. In essence, whenever he needs anything related to marketing, he comes to us, and, if we do not have it designed so we can tweak it, we create something new. His ideas are usually good, so others in the MOST program benefit as well.
Live in the South? Then you will know that when a pig dies in the sty, the skin dries out, and the lips curl back revealing a fabulous “smile”. A great article in Business Insider today showcases Southern sayings gives some insight into some of the most widely used Southern sayings. So, if you are marketing home care in the South, it might be good to know and understand what some of these are. The same is true if you are marketing home care services in Manhattan. There are certainly verbal and customary differences even among the Burroughs. Religious differences also call upon a different approach and an understanding of how to approach a prospect.
Marketing is, at its heart, finding a way to generate interest from people who might need your services. Once you have figured out a way to GET their interest, then you have the job of selling to them. Before selling, usually there is a building relationship component, then the sales, and then the keeping the relationship alive component.
Having a marketing strategy that is flexible enough to bend with the target, and change to fit the target is really the key. And, in this age of inbound marketing, it is getting their interest in the first place that will then lead to sales. You want the sun to come up just to hear you crow. You want your marketing message to be succinct, interesting, inviting and engaging. You want your visuals to catch the eye, and keep the target reading or exploring. You want action to occur after the first interaction.
How do you do that? First, start with a strategy that is targeted. Secondly, start with a plan that allows for diversification in message and visual. Third, measure results so you know what is working, and keep doing more of that while tweaking what is not working so well.
If you are in home care and you have not taken a look at our turnkey home care marketing program then you need to do so now. MOST for your marketing is a membership program that is geared to those agencies that provide a quality service, but need to spread that word. MOST for your marketing is based on a strategy of getting the long term, high hour clients that are the most profitable. MOST for your marketing positions your agency as the expert in care, and educates about those issues that arise when care is needed.
You can take a personal tour, see a sales video that more clearly defines the process, or attend our next sales webinar. We will also be glad to talk with you about it, and see if your agency meets the criteria for membership, and if it is right for you.
Not interested? Then, Bless Your Heart anyway! We probably would balk at trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Want to know how you are ranking on search terms organically on Google? Well, so do we! Google has just taken a radical step and is now not publishing the information, provided for free for so long, about specific key words that searchers use to find a site. If you want to pay, then you can find out, but only with AdWords, the Google Pay Per Click service.
Almost all search activity on Google will be completely anonymous, according to Business Insider. What it really means is that search has become private, unless you pay for it. If you pay for it, then you can get data, but the organic searches, which account for more than half of Internet searches, have gone dark. Interestingly enough, what Google seems to be doing is to thwart the gray and black hat tactics of those who would want to rank without the effort of a) building a relevant site, b) keeping the content unique and updated and c) working social media to engage users.
A data apocalypse, is what AdAge calls it. It is certainly harder to have things taken away than to never know what having them means. There will still be data, but, the user just has to access it differently, and pay.
Fortunately for our clients, we have practiced white hat tactics from the get go, and our marketing strategy at corecubed is specifically geared around educating, informing, alerting and engaging users who suddenly find themselves in need of some aging care services.
Check out MOST for your Marketing if you have doubts. And, see you on page one of the search results! Regardless of what algorithm is being used at the moment.