Thursday, April 20, 2006

Are You a Starter ... or a Finisher?

This morning, I read the following in an email from my friend and fellow NSA Past President, Chris Clarke-Epstein. It struck home with me, because in my business I sometimes have great ideas that get started, but the don't get finished. What about you?

"According to the gurus at Home Depot, the majority of home improvement projects are abandoned when they're 90 percent complete. By this time, homeowners frequently are fed up with their projects and anxious to move on. That unfinished 10 percent, however, typically comprises the finishing touches that make the project took polished and professional."

Is this behavior you recognize in your self? Are you leaving some 10% finishing work undone that makes people view you as less polished and professional than you really are? Are you willing to challenge yourself to change?

Chris Clarke-Epstein, CSP
Everyone gets a choice about change - endure it or lead it.
Want more insights about change?

Home Care Information Network Introduces Web Seminars by Stephen Tweed

Tom Williams, Home Care Information Network CEO and publisher of Home Care Automation Report, announced Monday that his company has released 11 web-based seminars from Stephen Tweed. According to Williams, this brings the total number of on-line seminars already available on HCIN to 25, just a month after launch of his video streaming venture. “We launched HCIN in mid-March with our special offer on Lisa Selman-Holman’s Coding seminar series and our Revised HHABN seminar, and we are pleased to add Stephen’s sessions to our expanding content library. Stephen is a very popular speaker at state and national conferences, and home care executives will now be able to conveniently view his seminars at the office or home.” A complete listing of current and upcoming HCIN seminars, including excerpts from each speaker, is available at

Teaching administrators to expand, Stephen Tweed is CEO of Louisville-based Leading Home Care and is past president of the National Speaker’s Association. He has produced eleven seminars for HCIN that are available as individual modules or as part of his Private Duty or Planning seminar series. “Stephen’s seminars address a number of very timely topics,” Williams said, “particularly for home care companies that are trying to grow their business or expand their presence in the rapidly growing private duty market.”

“We already have 19 ‘partner states,’” Williams commented, “and we expect our special pricing to association members in those states will influence them to try HCIN. Once they try video streaming, I am certain they will like it.”

Williams has reason to speak with certainty about the reaction he expects from busy home care executives and staff. He reports that his most recent survey reveals 100% viewer satisfaction and that nearly two-thirds of viewers report that they prefer a video-streamed seminar over a live event. “The number one factor folks cite for their high level of satisfaction is the convenience of viewing a seminar when and where they want to,” Williams notes, “free of air and hotel expenses.” He added that viewers also appreciate being able to pause presentations or view a particular portion of a session multiple times.

©2006 Stony Hill Publishing - Reprinted with Permission

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

AARP Survey Says Seniors are Satisfied with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

A new survey released by AARP finds that most of the elderly who are enrolled in the new Medicare prescription drug coverage program called Part D are satisfied with the program.

The elderly advocacy group says 78% of those enrolled in Medicare Part D say they are satisfied. The findings are somewhat surprising given all of the reports of Medicare beneficiaries having problems with the enrollment process.

AARP Director of Health Strategy Cheryl Matheis explains, "Before Medicare added a drug benefit, more than half of those in the program either lacked drug coverage or had inadequate coverage that did not protect them from high out-of-pocket costs. The new plans fill a critical need for affordable prescriptions drugs".

As of March 2006, over 27 million of a total of 42 million eligible people are enrolled in a new Medicare drug plan. Of those surveyed who had prescription drug coverage before 2006, 63% reported their new Medicare drug plan is either better or as good as their previous coverage.

Only 17% said their new coverage is worse than what they had in 2005 and in prior years.

What are you finding with your home health care clients? Are they enrolled in Medicare Part D? Are they satisfied with the coverage? Let us know what you are seeing by adding a comment below.

See the Survey Report from AARP:

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Massachusetts to Require All Residents to Have Health Insurance

Legislators in Massachusetts passed a bill yesterday that will require all individuals in the state to have health insurance coverage, just as motorists in most states are required to carry auto insurance. The new bill is designed to reduce the state's 550,000 uninsured to zero within three years.

Here are some of the key points in the bill:

  • Employers who don't provide insurance will be charged $295 per worker per year
  • Individuals below the federal poverty line of $9,600 in annual income will receive free coverage
  • Insurance will be subsidized for those up to three times the federal poverty level
  • The program will cost $316 million the first year and climb to $1 billion by the third year
  • All but $125 million will come from state and federal funds already earmarked for healthcare
  • After the third year, individuals who refuse to buy coverage will lose their state tax exemption . . . about $150 per person
  • Monthly premiums will be about $200 per month for a single adults

What do you think about his concept? Add your comments below.

Here's my take on this.

I think this is a great concept that needs to be pursued. Part of the problem with the healthcare system in America is the lack of personal responsibility. Our employer paid health insurance system has created an entitlement mentality where the Americans believe they are entitled to the best health care money can buy, but without having to pay for it out of their own pockets.

The problem with this is that WE DO PAY FOR IT.

We pay for our health care services in the form of:

  • The additional raise in wages or salary we didn't get last year
  • The additional healthcare premiums we pay to cover those who don't pay
  • The additional out-of-pocket co-pays to cover those who don't pay
  • The additional cost of products and services we buy to cover the cost of health insurance for the employees who make those products and deliver those services
  • The additional state taxes we pay to provide Medicaid for the low income residents of our state
  • The additional hospital costs to pay to operate emergency rooms that treat everyone who comes in whether they have insurance or not.

The list goes on. There are many ways that you and I pay for the health care of others who don't have insurance.

In my view this concept of requiring all residents of the United States to have health care coverage is the best alternative to a nationalized healthcare system. It's a monumental undertaking with loads of challenges. But it's an idea that is worth considering.

What Will This Mean to Home Health Agencies?

For one thing, it may mean that we'll have to provide health care coverage for home health aides and non-medical caregivers who are not currently insured. That's a good thing, but expensive.

It may mean that there will be more dollars available to provide home care services for people who do not now have access to our services. The bad news is, we'll have to do business with more insurance companies at low reimbursement rates.

Let's watch and see what happens in Massachusetts. In the mean time, let us read your comments below.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Home Care Workers form Cooperative

One of the hottest topics in home care today is the issue of "consumer directed care." This is a process whereby home care consumers hire and pay their own caregivers. There is a large and growing workforce of independent caregivers who market their own service to clients.

Now, there's a create new approach for independent caregivers. A group of caregivers in Appleton, Wisconsin, have banded together and formed their own cooperative. A cooperative is a legal entity whereby the members are also the owners. This business model is widely used among farmers who bring together the fruits of their labors and market them cooperatively.

Well, these creative caregivers in Wisconsin have formed Circle of Care Cooperative. According to Cheryl Detrick, Executive Director, the turnover of caregivers at Circle of Care is only 2% per year as compared to 60% for some home care companies. The President of the five member board of directors is Jean Stark, a CNA.

Circle of Care Cooperative was formed in 2004 with a grant from The U.S. Department Agriculture. Detrick said 41 independent caregivers out of a possible 220 working in Outagamie County have already joined the co-op, where wages are typically $2 to $3 more an hour and benefits including health insurance, vacation, holiday and sick pay are ultimately possible.
"Nearly 40 percent of home care givers do not have health insurance," Detrick said.
"Members pay a one-time fee to join that can be spread over two years at $12/month, and they also get business profits," she said.

For more information, visit their web site: