This post is an entry for our $25,000 scholarship contest. The post was created by Yolanda Gant and may not always reflect the views of JW Surety Bonds.
This post is an entry for our $25,000 scholarship contest. The post was created by Kathleen Anderson and may not always reflect the views of JW Surety Bonds.
It is estimated that every day more than 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 which is causing some experts to predict booms for the home health care agency. According to the National Association of Home Care & Hospice Basic Statistics report for 2009, they found that approximately 12 million individuals currently receive care from more than 33,000 Medicare certified home health agencies, certified hospices or non-Medicare agencies providing care in the home. The Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms this prediction in their Job Outlook Handbook for Home Health Aides by predicting a 48% increase in the job outlook for this career from 2012 – 2022. They characterize this growth as “much faster than average”. (Farnham, 2013) (National Association for Home Care & Hospice, 2010) (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Although there is an expectation of need and growth in this sector, median pay for this job is relatively low ($20,820 per year or $10.01 per hour) and there is relatively no education or experience needed. (Bureau of Labor Statistics) With this in mind it is easy to figure out why turnover rates in this sector are extremely high. A USA Today story published in 2012 quoted the Institute for the Future of Aging Services as reporting, “From state to state, that annual turnover rate can vary from 60% to 100%”. (Kennedy, 2012)
It’s quite a conundrum for the home health care businesses. High turnover can be directly related to low wages and the cost of retraining individuals can run as high as $4000. Higher wages will also result in higher costs for seniors who desperately need this type of care and are often times without the means to pay for such care. It seems to be a vicious cycle as high turnover rates directly affect the seniors who rely on this care. Patients must deal with a multitude of caregivers, rather than the same person. Employers must continually incur the costs of hiring new employees and employees find obstacles trying to advance their careers.
Across Pennsylvania the annual cost of training due to turnover in 2000 was at least $35 million. Most recently in Hershey, PA approximately 260 home healthcare jobs were eliminated when Country Meadows Retirement Communities of Hershey announced that it would conclude services for clients residing outside its retirement communities by September 2014 due to diminishing staffing resources. (Stone & Wiener, 2001) (Healey, 2014)
According to the CEO of Country Meadows, Michael Leader said that although the organization increased their recruiting efforts, bolstered training and adjusted benefit packages none of the actions produced the necessary results. “The success of home-based services is driven by positive relationships built over time by dedicated, trusted co-workers. Turnover affects client care. Period.” (Healey, 2014)
Of course the simple answer is a resounding yes. Except that according to an article by HomeHealthCareNews.com, home care business owners say that increasing wages is difficult because of “cutbacks in Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, both of which are the main sources of operators’ revenue.” In 2009 Medicare accounted for approximately 41% of home health expenditures. (Oliva, 2013) (National Association for Home Care & Hospice, 2010)
But low wages aren’t the only reason for high turnover rates in this sector. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, regulatory policy on long term care also had a direct impact on the high turnover rates in this service industry.
“Regulatory policy on long-term care focuses primarily on protecting consumers, rather than on responding to workers’ concerns. Regulation tends to emphasize entry training, with limited attention to continued career growth or development. One major policy issue for workforce development is the extent to which states allow nursing assistants to perform certain tasks currently performed by nurses (e.g., administering medications or providing wound care). Giving frontline workers added responsibility and autonomy may motivate them to remain in the job or encourage others to seek these positions.” (Stone & Wiener, 2001)
Providing quality jobs to a quality workforce is most obviously the best way to solve this workforce dilemma. Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), an employee-owned company, aims to do just that. The company is staffed primarily by former welfare recipients who after three months of employment can purchase shares in the company. Wages are higher than average for home care aides and workers receive benefits as well as guaranteed hours. (Cooperative Home Care Associates)
CHCA was started in 1985 with only 12 home health aides but now employs more than 2000. In 1992 CHCA founded the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI). PHI, a national non-profit, began as the training provider for CHCA’s workforce but has since grown to a leader in the industry, working with various agents in the long-term care industry including employers, unions, policy makers and advocates. Collectively, both CHCA and PHI now provide care to more than 6,000 individuals, employment to more than 2,200 and directly trains 600 annual for careers in the long-term care industry. (The Aspen Institute)
PHI looks not only to train the direct care workers in the industry, they have also implemented many other training programs for all other levels of the industry – including consumers and agencies who hire direct care workers with programs that focus on everything from communication skills and mentorship programs to train-the-trainer programs for staff educators. Family caregivers are offered opportunities to build problem solving skills to help build stronger relationships with health care workers. Building these skills has had a significant impact on reducing the turnover rate. CHCA boasts a turnover rate of just 20 percent annually and 70 percent of their employees are employed full-time. (The Aspen Institute) (University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives)
Clearly these ideas are what will be needed to spur the positive changes required for a service sector that shows such growth and necessity in today’s society. This promising business model has even spurred the New York City Council to allocate $1.2 million to support a Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative. This program aims to provide financial and technical assistance to worker cooperative businesses. Services provided include worker buyout programs, succession planning, financial and tax advice. (NYC NOWC)
Worker cooperative businesses have been shown to successfully deal with issues such as poverty, long-term unemployment and the growing isolation of low-wage workers, a profile that many home health care workers fit into. The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies recently released a report titled “Worker Cooperatives for New York City: A Vision for Addressing Income Inequality” which emphatically stated that although worker cooperatives have the ability to solve all of these problems, it cannot be done without a strong embrace of public policies and support of individuals and businesses. (Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies , 2014)
Hopefully more initiatives like the one recently implemented in New York City will follow and we will see this important sector of our economy become more stable and perhaps thrive.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). Home Health Aides. Retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home-health-aides.htm
Cooperative Home Care Associates. (n.d.). Retrieved from Cooperative Home Care Associates: http://www.chcany.org/
Farnham, A. (2013, April 23). Boom Predicted for At-Home Care Industry. Retrieved from AbcNews: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/boom-predicted-home-care-industry/story?id=19015511
Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies . (2014, January). Worker Cooperatives for New York City. Retrieved from Democracy at Work Institute: http://institute.usworker.coop/sites/default/files/resources/432-Worker-Cooperatives-for-New-York-City-A-Vision-for-Addressing-Income-Inequality-FPWF-January2013.pdf
Healey, M. (2014, July 16). Country Meadows to eliminate hundreds of home-care jobs. Retrieved from ABC27.com: http://www.abc27.com/story/26037109/country-meadows-to-eliminate-hundreds-of-home-care-jobs
Kennedy, K. (2012, February 15). High turnover affects home health care quality. Retrieved from USAToday.com: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-02-15/home-health-care-turnover-quality/53109424/1
National Association for Home Care & Hospice. (2010). Basic Statistics. Retrieved from National Associate for Home Care & Hospice: http://www.nahc.org/assets/1/7/10HC_Stats.pdf
NYC NOWC. (n.d.). Retrieved from New York City Network for Worker Cooperatives: http://www.nycworker.coop/#home
Oliva, J. (2013, April 15). WSJ: Turnover Rates, Wages “worsen” Labor Shortage for Nursing Aides. Retrieved from HomeHealthCareNews.com: http://homehealthcarenews.com/2013/04/wsj-turnover-rates-wages-worsen-labor-shortage-for-nursing-aides/
Stone, R. I., & Wiener, J. M. (2001, May). Who Will Care For Us? Addressing the Long-Term Care Workforce Crisis. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/ltcwf.htm
The Aspen Institute. (n.d.). Profiles of the Direct-Care Workforce and PHI. Retrieved from Workforce Strategies Initiative at the Aspen Institue: http://www.aspenwsi.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Profiles-of-the-Direct-Care-Workforce-and-PHI.pdf
University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives. (n.d.). Cooperative Home Care Associates. Retrieved from http://www.uwcc.wisc.edu/info/i_pages/chca.html
This post is an entry for our $25,000 scholarship contest. The post was created by Ross Doty and may not always reflect the views of JW Surety Bonds.
Many people are not aware of the many types of durable medical equipment available in today’s world- until they need one. The term ‘durable medical equipment’ refers to a wide variety of devices and equipment that assist people to live more normal lives when suffering from illnesses or injuries which restrict their normal mobility and function. According to the Social Security Administration it includes such equipment “necessary on the basis of the individual’s medical and physical condition and… used in the patient’s home”. This differentiates durable medical equipment from equipment used in hospitals and other short term uses. By definition durable medical equipment is ‘durable’, meaning that it is designed to be used over and over again by the patient and/or the patient’s caregivers.
As you can already tell, the use and reimbursement of durable medical equipment is a benefit administered by Social Security as well as Medicare. A durable medical equipment benefit is part of most private insurance plans as well. This is a recognition of the role that durable medical equipment can play in controlling medical costs by keeping patients independent and out of hospitals or skilled nursing facilities. In general, patients enjoy a better quality of life at home than in an institution, and devices that allow for improved mobility, respiratory care, home administration of drugs, and other functions help make this possible.
As our society ages, the need for durable medical equipment is increasing. In the US alone the durable medical equipment market is over $26 billion and steadily growing. The United States is known for producing the most advanced and highest quality durable medical equipment in the world. It is an industry that ranges from small companies to multinationals and that employs over 300,000 American workers.
Let’s take a look at some of the many types of durable medical equipment in use today.
It is likely that in the course of our lifetime we will encounter or be prescribed one or more type of durable medical equipment. We are fortunate to have such a variety of helps available- for as long as we need it.]]>
This post is an entry for our $25,000 scholarship contest. The post was created by James Yarsky and may not always reflect the views of JW Surety Bonds.
People get arrested. Sometimes, people you know get arrested. Maybe even, you get arrested. Others live their entire lives without incident and are never on the business end of a policeman.
When one is arrested, innocence or guilt becomes a mechanical thing. Professionals leap into action in order to make determinations as to whether or not you should have been arrested in the first place. Now, for the most part, your voice is irrelevant – a professional told you so. The machine begins its work and you are lost and you do not know what the machine will do next.
One does a lot of waiting. One does a lot of posing. One does a lot of thinking. The machine brings you papers. You need backup. You need your friends or your family. You need to make bail. Now.
Now is what bail bond agencies and agents are all about. People get arrested at all hours of the day and night. The machine makes room for this possibility. Our constitution makes provisions for the newly arrested. Families seek bail bond agencies from search engines or references. The bail bond agent answers the call. The family needs their help. Now. Can they help?
Yes. It is a financial and good faith agreement for sure, but the answer is yes.
The bail bond agency uses metrics to determine risk. Legal, personal, demographic and experiential evidence is weighed to gauge whether or not the potential client will honor his debt and be present for court. Bail bond agencies use data from sources like biennial State Court Processing Statistics, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics in order to make their determinations. All the while, the bail bond agency must remember that the statistics and metrics they study inevitably lead to a profound choice on their part for a human being who is in dire straits.
Lives are at stake. Studies cited in a New York Times article entitled “Panel Proposes Changes to New Jersey Bail System” claims that, “…people who are held while awaiting trial are more likely to plead guilty, be convicted, and receive harsher prison sentences than defendants who are released pending trial (Zernike).” The machine is powerful. It is smart, humorless and it is often in a hurry because there are so many others in line to be processed. Everyone has advice for those who are incarcerated. Lawyers, policemen, guards, and friends may have good intentions when offering advice but when one is looking at bars, one is, most likely, not one’s self. With the stroke of a pen, the machine may convince one that a deal is better than an abstract legal alternative. Looking at the bars makes one desperate. Bars are heavy and dark. The weight of bars may take one out of his or her rational self.
Bail offers one light. Literally. Light is vital whether one is guilty or innocent. Light gives one his or her rational self back. Bail bond agencies are in the business of restoring light to desperate situations. Bail bond agents understand this. That is why they answer the phone at 3 a.m.
A voice on the other end of the phone at 3 a.m. is a good beginning. One offers the details of one’s strange situation over to a person who has heard similar stories many times. The voice on the other end of the phone is professional. He or she gives one details about the process and what they can expect once the process begins. A small, good thing in a time of deep confusion. It is indeed valuable.
Yet bail is elusive to some people, especially poor people. Some non-profit organizations have identified how vital bail is, so they created mechanisms of posting bail for people who otherwise would not be able to make the financial commitment. Their work helped the bail bond agencies shed light on people who may have signed a very weighty piece of paper under the duress of the bars (Turkewitz).
We are a nation of transactions. We exchange money for food, water, heat, clothes, health, and legal representation. One would be hard-pressed to think of a more important transaction than posting bail with the aid of a bail bond agency when one is in a dark room full of strangers. Jail is not a good place to make life decisions. One needs his or her loved ones, time, professionals, and the light of day to weigh everything soberly and with sound foresight.
We are indeed fortunate that men and women decide to fulfill this calling.
Turkewitz, Julie. (January 22, 2014). Helping Poor Defendants Post Bail in Backlogged Bronx. The New York Times. N.Y. Region
Zernike, Kate. (March 20, 2014). Panel Proposes Changes to New Jersey Bail System. The New York Times N.Y. Region.
JW Surety Bonds will be closed from 12:00 p.m. Friday, August 29 through Monday, September 1, 2014 to observe Labor Day. We will reopen Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. EST. Have a safe and happy holiday!
This post is an entry for our $25,000 scholarship contest. The post was created by Carter Forry and may not always reflect the views of JW Surety Bonds.