USA Today Article on Senior Care Ignites Caregiver Pay Conversation

USA Today reported earlier this week that the Franchise Business Review market research firm found senior home care agencies to be one of the most profitable franchises, even as the industry is fighting the Department of Labor's potential new rule which would allow over-time pay for senior caregivers providing live-in care services.

The senior care industry continues to grow, as seniors are living longer and prefer to age-in-place.  It is true that more and more franchise companeis are offering senior care services.  However, the profit levels reported in the article may not be exactly accurate.  It is important to remember the numbers are based on a survey and it is also important to remember that senior clients may pass away or get better and no longer need senior care services.  This makes the "lifetime value" of a client a very real scenario.  Unlike a Subway sandwich franchise, you will not win clients forever. 

This means there is a revolving door of clients and a revolving door of caregivers.  This impacts costs and profits.

The USA Today article also lead to some confusion by those commenting claiming the senior home care agencies were billing Medicare.  They do not.  Senior home care must be paid for privately or by long-term care insurance.  Because of this, you will not find any fraud - - - believe me, sweet elderly ladies and gentleman comb through every detail of their invoices and will make sure it is correct - - - it is too bad they are not working on Wall Street or for the banks in this country!

Medicare home health agencies are different from senior home care agencies.  Medicare home health has experienced a huge amount of fraud, even by public companies, partly because the Medicare home health services were set-up in such a fashion that fraud was easy.  However, this is changing.  Medicare invoices are going to be easier to read and there will also be more incentives for reporting fraud.

In the  meantime, it is important that senior caregivers receive benefits such as healthcare and fair pay for the work they perform.  WIthout quality caregivers, proper senior care cannot be delivered.  Senior caregivers should receive all the benefits of any employee, which includes Worker's Compensation Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance and Social Security benefits.

Learn more about working as a professional senior caregiver and share with us your feelings on how much caregivers should be paid.  You may also take a sample Certified Nursing Aide test to understand some of the skills trained nursing assistants learn.  Caregiverlist offers a 10-hour online caregiver training course for non-medical caregivers.

The Exemption to Overtime Regulations for Caregivers was set in 2007, allowing companion senior caregivers to be excluded from wage-and-hour standards which would provide for overtime pay.  The 18th Initiative in Obama's "We Can't Wait" campaign would over-ride this exemption.

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Comments (2) -

  • Jennifer Jones

    5/13/2012 8:10:27 PM | Reply

    While it is a good thought to pay live in caregivers overtime, it is not entirely practical. In order to do this, home care agencies will have to begin to charge clients more money. These are clients who are already paying privately or with long-term care insurance which may or may not cover the costs of the overtime worker. This in turn will make the live in services that seniors need impossible to afford, possibly forcing the senior in to a nursing home situation.

  • vanessa

    6/1/2012 4:07:47 AM | Reply

    Spoken by two people who aren't caregivers im sure!!! These agencies make up to $300 a day. While only paying the caregiver only $100-$120. So why should we not get ot and other benefits. The agencies should be regulated some how. They make all the money while we do all the hard work. I love my job. I do my job extremely well. And should be compensated and not penalized for it.

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