Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. Thank you for caring for our seniors. Remember more caregivers are needed, please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools. 

 

"There is nothing stronger in the world than gentleness".

-Han Suyin

 

Caregiver Jobs: Shortage of Caregivers Cause for Concern

Caregiving as a profession has grown significantly in the last decade, with a 40% growth in the number of senior home care agencies since 2008.  Caregiverlist's Employment Index profiles the growth in senior home care along with the top cities where seniors age-in-place (or relocate).

Last week, the Wall Street Journal profiled the shortage of C.N.A.'s for nursing homes along with the high turnover and potential need for higher pay and other benefits for certified nursing aides.

Another reason for the shortage of professional caregivers is because many people do not realize caregiving can be a professional job with a career path.  The large growth in senior home care agencies is because senior care is moving to the home.  Seniors often find they prefer one-on-one care in their own home rather than relocating to a nursing home or assisted living community.

This means anyone with a caring personality may be employed by a senior home care agency. In addition, the growth in the number of seniors with memory loss - the Alzheimer's Association reports that nearly 1/3rd of all Americans will have some memory loss, with the risk increasing the longer we live.  This means seniors who are physically healthy -or enjoying healthy aging, will suddenly need caregiving services just to maintain meals and daily activities. 

Companion caregivers assist with medication reminders, meal preparation and daily activities as well as just being a friend to the senior.  Certified Nursing Aides, however, must obtain a certificate in their state by passing a state exam after attending an approved school. C.N.A. programs can be anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks and some programs offer evening courses.

Anyone interested in exploring becoming a senior caregiver can apply for a caregiving job or Refer-a-Friend to be a caregiver to win t-shirts, training and gift certificates each week on Caregiverlist.  Remember, caregiving delivers fulfillment beyond a paycheck while also providing a needed service to seniors.  Online training is also available to gain the necessary skills to provide safe caregiving services and be obtained through Caregiverlist's Certified Training program.

 

 

Scooter Store Files Bankruptcy But Will Stay In Business

The Scooter Store will stay in business, it turns out, after pushing hard for seniors to qualify for power wheelchairs and admitting to fraudulent claims.  The Scooter Store continued to operate and continued to push the envelope for "approval" of the medical need for a power wheelchair for seniors, resulting in a raid by federal agents in February of this year.  

Now The Scooter Store blames their former management team for improper business practices (such as requiring their representatives to keep calling new doctors if the first medical doctor turned down an approval for the need for a power wheelchair for a senior).  They went as far as to color-code medical doctors based on how easy or difficult it would be to convince the doctor to approve a senior for a power wheelchair. 

Medicare changed their reimbursements for power wheelchairs to be more in line with what is fair and reasonable and charged in the private sector.  This results in a monthly rental of the power wheelchairs instead of an upfront payment.  Formerly, Medicare payments were in the thousands and The Scooter Store made as much as $5000 or more in profits for each power wheelchair they sold a senior.  In addition, Medicare even created a new category for power wheelchairs to make sure scooters were not substituted, all because of The Scooter Store's fraudulent business practices.

It is interesting The Scooter Store never stepped to the plate to assist the government in ways to innovate and save more money.  Instead they wanted to make a quick buck and profit as much as they could from a program that was meant to truly help those who had lost mobility.

Last year, an independent auditor found The Scooter Store received from Medicare between $46.8 million and $87.7 million in overpayments from May 2009 to May 2011.  The Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Health & Human Services Department found The Scooter Store's failure to refund the overpayments breached a 2007 agreement entered into to settle charges that it made false Medicare claims and defrauded the government.

Court documents show The Scooter Store wants to sell substantially all of its assets by the end of July but continue to operate on a diminished basis.

Find a local medical supplier if you truly need a power wheelchair.  Remember, many physical exercises can assist with mobility issues and if a serious medical condition prevents mobility, then certainly a senior's medical doctor will recommend and write an approval for a power wheelchair.  It is important to have a local trusted company fit you for the power wheelchair.  I once had a senior client who required more than 4 visits by the medical equipment company to assist with her power wheelchair adjustments.  The company even removed a door for her and assisted with rug placement and rearranging furniture.  Since Medicare is paying for this service, use a company that can visit your home and assist with all the adjustments.

Here is one of The Scooter Store's mailings which shows they were really trying to get any senior they could to tap into qualifications for a power wheelchair which they were promoting as a "scooter".

 If you are able to buzz around in a scooter, you are not going to have a serious enough medical condition to qualify for a power wheelchair.  Medicare made this distinction very clear to prohibit this type of fraud the first time they sued The Scooter Store.  Yet The Scooter Store continued to try to push sales as you can see in this mailing.  All seniors and caregivers can alert The Inspector General's office when they see something that may appear as Medicare fraud by trying to profit from Medicare or know that there are improper needs assessments. 

 

Caregivers: Report Medicare Fraud and Receive Financial Reward

Medicare and Medicaid fraud have been a huge contributor to high costs of health care for seniors, with both improper reimbursements and unnecessary treatments and billings.  We are talking about billions of dollars in fraud.  The Department of Health and Human Services is now increasing the reward for anyone who reports fraud to as much as 15% of the amount recovered up to $9.9 million (and since billions of dollars in fraud has taken place, this maximum, unfortunately, is needed).  Here is their revised whistleblower reward program for those turning in companies and doctors who are fraudulently billing Medicare.
 
Medicare's new fraud alert reward has been modeled on an IRS program that has returned $2 billion in fraud penalties and unpaid taxes since 2003, the Health and Human Services Department says.
 
Senior caregivers who feel a senior is receiving medical treatment that is unnecessary or received medical doctor invoices for services that were not performed should call the Inspector General's hotline to report Medicare fraud.
 
The proposed rule would also strengthen certain provider enrollment provisions. One would allow HHS to deny enrollment of providers who are affiliated with an entity that has unpaid Medicare debt. It also would allow CMS to deny or revoke billing privileges for individuals with felony convictions, and revoke privileges for providers and suppliers who are abusing their billing privileges.
 
Under the proposed rule, HHS also would expand the ability of its Senior Medicare Patrol program to educate more Medicare beneficiaries about suspicious billing by providers that could be evidence of fraudulent activities. Total funding for all the 54 current SMP projects amounts to $7.3 million.
 
The Scooter Store has been a recent Medicare and Medicaid fraud spotlight for their laser focus on taking advantage of a high reimbursement for power wheelchairs for seniors - only they decided to give seniors cheaper scooters instead of high quality wheelchairs and even went so far as to have a network of medical doctors "approve" the senior's need for the power wheelchair.  
 
However, the federal government must also take some responsibility for The Scooter Store exploitation, simply because their juicy fees attracted The Scooter Store to play the fraud game. But of course the old reimbursements that were fat and juicy were due to lobbying by these groups.  The Wall Street Journal investigation also exposed that home health companies received a $2,000 bonus after the 10th R.N. home visit, and guess what?  The largest home health agencies always made sure they had 10 visits. This was not set-up to benefit seniors, but just another example of payments that make it into legislation due to strong lobbying.
 
Obama Care, as the new healthcare law has been labeled, does have some very positive aspects which include "accountability of care".  In addition, some Medicare reimbursements which were a bit unnecessary (i.e., would never survive in the private sector), were revamped.
 
Power wheelchairs payments were formerly paid in one lump sum by Medicare. Profits of thousands of dollars per wheelchair were pocketed by The Scooter Store immediately.  As of last year, though, this changed and a more reasonable rental fee was paid for the power wheelchairs.  Then The Scooter Store ran into cash flow issues and this, according to some former employees, stimulated even more aggressiveness to "get approval by a medical doctor" for a power wheelchair for a senior - going to 3 doctors or more and even coding doctors based on how difficult or easy it would be to get them to approve the wheelchair.
 
A whistleblower turned in The Scooter Store several years ago and this placed them under more scrutiny as they continued to push the envelope by selling power wheelchairs to individuals who did not really need one.  They even sent out direct mail promotions advertising they could obtain a "Free" wheelchair for seniors.  
 
Caregivers can help be the watchdog for Medicare fraud.  As senior caregivers are involved with day-to-day care, you have the inside view of all medical care and can quickly see when something seems unnecessary.  As more fraud is stopped, it is hope the senior care dollars will go towards actually paying for senior care.
 

Background Checks for Senior Caregivers: Frequently Asked Questions

Caregiver background checks are required by professional senior care companies.  The word "background check" causes confusion for many and because background checks are regulated under a federal law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, it takes extra work to sift through the actual requirements and limitations of information shared in background checks.

Caregiverlist provides information on the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which has been updated over the years and received more additions to accommodate the terrorism act after September 11, 2001.  The Federal Trade Commission updates the FCRA and each state can also create their own laws governing background checks which may over-ride the FCRA.

What does this mean for senior caregivers?  First, it is important to understand that credit reports are separate from criminal background checks.  The following are frequently asked questions about caregiver background checks, along with answers.

Caregiver Background Check FAQ's

What information is included on an official caregiver background check?

Caregiver background checks first verify the individual "is who they say they are" by matching the person's name to their social security number and all addresses connected with that social security number.  This makes sure the caregiver is not an imposter as true criminals will many times simply steal someone else's identity in order to try to be hired.

Sex offender records are then checked.  Many times background check services will automatically tap into the national database for sex offenders at the same time the social security number match is validated.

After the social security number and name match are verified, then a criminal courthouse record check is performed in each of the counties where the caregiver has lived.

How many years back will criminal records show?  Just 7 years, as required by the federal law, but individual states may pass their own legislation which can allow review of background check information for more than 7 years if the employee will be working with seniors or children.  You may review the "by-state" background check laws to learn the look-back years in your state.

What information do criminal courthouse records show?

  • Arrests
  • Convictions
  • Motor-vehicle violations

Did you run a stop-sign and receive a traffic ticket?  This will show up on your criminal record, unless when you showed up in court the judge "dropped" the charge.  This is why if you have a traffic violation, from speeding tickets to running a redlight, you should always show up in court and try to negotiate for the charge to not show up on your record, and be reduced, if possible.

Theft and domestic violence charges will show up on your criminal record.  As caregivers will be going into a senior's home to assist them, it is very important to only hire a senior caregiver who has demonstrated responsible decision-making and has upheld high ethical and moral behavior.

Criminal courthouses sometimes charge an additional fee to access current records and you should always make sure any background check you are purchasing takes this into account.  Some courthouses do not submit criminal records to a national database daily and an "in-person" check is required which means you must have a real person go into the courthouse to pull the records.

What should caregivers do when applying for a job when they know there is a violation on their background check criminal record?

Be honest.  Also be aware of the 7-year look-back and find out if your state allows for a longer look-back period.  Remember, the federal law mandates that records of arrest, indictment, information, misdemeanor complaint, or conviction of a crime that, from the date of disposition, release, or parole, antedate the report by more than seven years.

How can a caregiver know what information is on their background check?

You may purchase a criminal background check and review the information.  If there is an error on your background check, you may contact the processing background check company to submit a request for review. This is called an "Applicant Dispute Reinvestigation" and will request supporting documentation to support your dispute with the background check results.

You may purchase a caregiver background check and remember that it is advised for individuals to check their own background check every few years, just to be sure there are no errors.  As we live in the highly "wired" era, one disadvantage of connected computerized information is that one typo can turn Susan into Susie and begin a chain of errors in information.  Caregiver job applicants can also ask their employer to share their background check results with them after they are hired.  Some employers will be willing to do this and others will not.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caregiverlist.com Welcomes New Senior Home Care Agency Expert: Lewis Myers of Right At Home, MD

Caregiver jobs can feel pretty isolated. Caregivers spend most of their time working with their seniors, and not a whole lot of time talking to other caregivers. It’s part of the reason Caregiverlist.com was created — to help build a community where family caregivers, senior companions, home health aides, CNAs and anyone else in the caregiving field can participate in discussions about senior care and realize they are part of a bigger picture.

To that end, we are happy to introduce you to Lewis Myers, Owner and President of Right at Home, Rockville, MD. Mr. Myers joins us as our Home Care Agency Expert, and he’ll be with us during the month of May to answer any questions you may have regarding the home care industry.

This week, we asked Mr. Myers to discuss what he looks for in a potential employee and what a career path with Right at Home might look like.

Mr. Myers also talks about Right at Home’s caregiving philosophy:

"Aging isn’t easy. Not for the person who is feeling the effects of the years. Not for their family members. As a person begins to age, family members are often called on to help with everyday things that their loved one now finds challenging. We understand. That’s why we’re committed to getting you the information you need, as well as the care your loved ones deserves.

Whether your loved one needs a little extra help around the house, daily medical assistance or just someone to check in with them throughout the week, Right at Home’s in-home care could be the answer. Our Senior Care Services are extensive. But we tailor our plans around your loved one’s specific needs through our Custom Care Plan and custom caregiver matching."

Please feel free to ask Mr. Myers any questions you might have regarding Senior Home Care or Senior Home Care employment.

Welcome!

 

Hilarity for Charity Raises Money for Alzheimer's Disease: April 25th in Los Angeles, California

Hilarity for Charity, presented by GIV Mobile, presents a variety show in Hollywood tomorrow to raise money for the fight against Alzheimer's Disease.  Actors Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller created Hilarity for Charity after being actively involved in the Alzheimer's community, in order to create awareness about the disease among the younger generation.

Part of the National Alzheimer's Association, money raised from this event will be directed towards assisting families struggling with caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease and assist with funding support groups and research for a cure.

Lauren Miller became involved in the fight against Alzheimer's disease after her Mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease at age 55.  She learned the challenges of caregiving and communicating how this disease impacts families.

Thursday's event will feature performances and appearances by Garfunkel & Oates, Sadie & The Blue Eyed Devils, Seth Rogen, Bo Burnham, John Mulaney and more.

Hilarity for Charity tickets may be purchased by buying a reserved table or an individual party crasher ticket at HilarityforCharity.com.  You also may make a donation to purchase a Hilarity for Charity Double Bracelet for $38.

Seniors who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease will also need to plan ahead for long-term care needs and understand that Medicare does not pay for long-term care.  The Alzheimer's Association programs are helpful in assisting families to plan for senior care needs.  You can learn about nursing home daily costs nationwide on Caregiverlist.  As more caregivers are needed in the industry, remember that many times only companion caregivers are needed for those with memory loss and this can be fulfilling work for anyone with a caring personality.  Caregiverlist's Career Center connects caregivers with part-time and full-time senior caregiver jobs in their area (all with professional senior care companies).

Caregiver training also assists with learning caregiver skills in order to deliver quality care to seniors and you may also take an online caregiver training course.

And in the meantime, cheers to Hilarity for Charity to adding a laugh to the complexities of dealing with Alzheimer's Disease.

  

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers that care for the elderly know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers, professional caregivers and certified nursing assistants to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote.  We would like to thank you for caring for our seniors. Remember senior caregivers are needed, please refer-a-friend to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our Caregiver Career Center for additional career tools. 

Caregiverlist Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Ocean

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors and let each year find you a better person."

Benjamin Franklin

Caregiverlist Caregiver Facebook Contest

Caregiverlist is the newest Caregiver Community on the Social Media Block, we’d like to get to know you and share our passion about Caregiving, Caregiver Online Employment Tools and the Caregiver Resources on Facebook.

 

Help us get to 500 Likes by May 1st, 2013 by Liking our Facebook Fan Page and You’ll be entered to Win a Free T-shirt! You must live in USA to receive your T-shirt.

 

Hurry and Like, or t-shirts will be gone soon!

As caregiving jobs are growing at an incredible rate, you may want apply for a Caregiving Job Online or Refer-a-Friend and you may Win $50 gift certificate or free t-shirt!

Boston Caregivers Keep on Caregiving

Boston, Massachusetts, experienced a week of loss and fear and transportation difficulties this past week after the bombing tragedy at the Boston Marathon.  Senior caregivers manage emotional and physical losses with senior clients each week and when a tragedy of the scale in Boston is added, caregiving becomes even more challenging.

Our hearts and prayers are with all of those in Boston this week and especially to senior caregivers who must overcome all challenges and still make it to their senior client's home each day.

Caregivers also will be needed for those injured in the Boston bombing and both family and professional caregivers will develop the skills necessary to deliver quality care.  Caregiver stress also is a very real experience and everyone must step in to support the caregivers, especially when care needs are not accounted for ahead of time.

Caregiverlist congratulates all of those who have dedicated their life's work to senior care and as the number of seniors in the U.S.A. will continue to grow, we invite more people to consider senior caregiving as a career.  Online caregiver trainin.g is available and senior care companies nationwide continue to hire from 3 to 6 new caregiver employees each week and you may apply for senior caregiver job near you on Caregiverlist.com.

Caregivers can join in the U.S.A.'s moment of silence in memory of the Boston Marathon bomb victims and the survivors, today at 2:50 p.m.

 

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