If you are considering private duty home care (services that are not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or most commercial insurance), the Home Care Association of America—of which Visiting Nurse Plus is a charter member—recommends asking potential providers the following questions:
- How do you select your caregivers?
- Are your caregivers bonded, insured and covered by Worker’s Compensation?
- Do you do background checks on prospective employees?
- Are you willing to give me a copy of your insurance binder?
- Do you deduct state, federal and local taxes from the caregivers’ checks?
- Is there a “contract for services” and if so, what is the cancellation policy?
- What kind of caregiver consistency can we expect?
- What is the minimum number of hours of service you provide?
- Do you charge extra for night or weekend care?
- Is there supervision of the caregivers by an administrative staff person?
- How are calls after business hours and on weekends handled?
- What kind of assessment for care can we expect from your agency? Is there a charge for this assessment?
- How often are patient care needs reassessed?
- Is this a franchise or privately owned company?
- How long has the company been in business?
- Will you give me references from previous clients?
An Important Note about Hiring Private Duty Home Care Services
If you choose a home care provider that does not employ its caregivers or assume responsibility for staff payroll, taxes and workers’ compensation, you, the customer, become that caregiver’s employer. You are responsible for the appropriate employer taxes and also for compensation should the individual become injured in your home (homeowner’s insurance does not generally cover this type of liability.) Should you decide to hire a caregiver privately, to reduce the potential for fraud, abuse and safety concerns it is recommended that you conduct a thorough interview and background check to determine the caregiver’s criminal history status, driving record, drug use, level of training or experience, communicable disease status, and knowledge of infection control procedures. Finally, you will need a back-up plan for care when the primary caregiver is unable or unwilling to work.
For more on Home Care Association of America safeguards, please visit their website at www.hcaoa.org or request a copy of their brochure from Visiting Nurse Plus.