From conversations I have had over the years with clients, and in working with representatives from the major Home Care Providers, I’ve developed a set of questions that should be asked and answered to your satisfaction prior to choosing whom to work with. When you reach the point of desiring in-home assistance, you are often appreciative of any provider’s interest in helping, and often “hear” what you need to hear, or are told how the process works, but only recall the points more important to you. In my view, we should be more objective in assessing providers, their representative’s promises and commitments.
If you’ve received claim approval and the “White Card”, it is your call when to pursue such benefits. There are no deadlines for you to take action. In-home care & assistance, from skilled (RN) or unskilled staff (CNS/Home Aide), is a benefit 100% paid for by the DOL under EEOICPA. The level of services you are eligible for depends on recommendations from your doctor and the extent to which the approved medical condition impacts your abilities.
You may not need this service now. However, I always recommend to my clients to start the process of chatting with providers sooner, rather than later. Having assistance around the house will do some good (for you and your family). It’s also hard to get used to (having someone in your home), but you need to try it and find a comfortable balance.
I’ll also add that after your initial contact/communication with the Outreach/Marketing representative, it comes down to who you’ll interact with on a daily/weekly basis, and that is a Case Manager and assigned staff (RN, CNA, Home Aide). It is the Case Managers and staff who will be in your home on a regular basis. These are dedicated medical professionals, trained to perform medically related and necessary care and treatment. Getting “past” the sales pitch can be a challenge, but it comes down to whether you feel well respected and well treated by the staff in your home on a regular basis.
Below are a few starter questions/topics you may consider in your search:
- What is the process to secure Home Care?
- How does the Home Care company coordinate with my Primary Care Physician?
- Who is “in charge” of my overall care?
- What is the approval process by DOL for these services? How long does the approval process take?
- How is the level of service determined (# hours/# days)?
- What is your company’s commitment to staffing at the level recommended by my physician?
- How do you assign staff, schedule staff to cover the approved hours?
- How do you handle staff vacations, turnover and still cover the hours?
- Are staff “employees” or independent contractors?
- What is the background check, vetting process for your staff?
- If your company is unable to provide staff as scheduled, what is the communication protocol?
- How much lead time will I have?
- If we are not satisfied with a provider, what is the process and timeline to switch to another?
- Is the staff vaccinated for COVID? How do you handle staff illness or quarantine requirements?
- Is your company accredited through a national accreditation program?
- What is required to meet the standard and continue annual accreditation?
- What if I need assistance with walkers, wheelchairs, or home improvements to accommodate my situation?
- How does the Home Care company coordinate/communicate with other agencies (Primary Care, Specialist, Insurance)?
- If the worker is on Hospice, how do you coordinate your staffing/services with Hospice?
- What are the roles/duties of an RN, CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant) or Family Care/Home Aide?
- Will I see any bills/invoices related to in home care?
- What happens if my health takes a turn for the worse? How do we increase care/staffing?
My recommendation is to request meeting(s) for introductions, discussion, questions and answers session first. Do not sign any agreements or consent forms at the first meeting unless you are comfortable with what you’ve heard. You can always sign and return paperwork after discussion with your family. If your questions are answered satisfactorily, schedule a time for their Case Manager (Nurse) to do an on-site assessment (a few hours); they develop a plan of care, submit to your Primary Physician, he/she approves it, then it’s submitted to DOL for formal approval. This process can take 4-8 weeks for initial approval, primarily due to the responsiveness of your designated physician. If DOL approves the Home Care plan, the Home Care company assigns staff and gets started. Every 6 months, DOL requires a review and renewal of care.
I hope this outline is helpful for those in the search process. If there are further questions, you’d like to ask from someone who has worked with most all providers, please call or send an email.