The nation’s baby boomers are entering their senior years, resulting in a spike in the senior population. Many choose areas like Southern California, based to some extent on its favorable climate. A number of these seniors have health problems that increase as they age. Despite these problems, they much prefer to remain in their homes rather than a senior facility. To get an update on in-home care, I interviewed two executives with Right at Home, Tim Petlin who oversees three territories in the Los Angeles area and Right at Home President Brian Petranick.
Right at Home was founded in 1995 and currently has franchises in most of the states in the US as well as a number in other nations around the globe.
Mr. Petlin oversees an area roughly accompanies an area from LAX to Malibu. He notes that most of the seniors cared for by his staff live in their own homes. A small percentage are in assisted living facilities where Right at Home staff provide more attentive service than what is available to other residents. People’s needs and personalities differ; thus, Right at Home makes every effort to match caregivers in order to attain a good fit. Most often, the first pairing works well; if not, a change is made. Also, the company offers trials, which allows the seniors the opportunity to determine whether the services to fit their needs. The cost of the care varies, depending on the degree of service. Some seniors require just a short period of assistance each day. At the other end of the spectrum are those that require 24/7 care. Although most of the care recipients are seniors, some are younger individuals with disabilities.
Neither Medicare nor Medicaid (MediCal in California) cover this type of care; thus, in-home care is on a fee for service except for those who have a long-term care insurance policy. Recently, Medicare initiated a policy that fined hospitals if a recently discharged patient had to be readmitted. Mr. Petlin noted that, at present, the fines are small; however, they are expected to increase significantly in the near future. Thus, his company has taken a proactive stance on this issue. Many readmissions are due to patients forgetting or neglecting to take prescribed medications, failing to keep a doctor’s appointment, having a poor diet, or suffering a fall. Supervision by a caregiver can reduce these incidents.
Right at Home is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. Mr. Petranick told me that Right at Home currently comprises 335 active territories in 44 states. The company also has territories around the globe, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, China, and Brazil. He told me that the spike in the senior population is not limited to the US, it is a global issue, which is experiencing an annual 20% increase in growth. I asked him what changes would occur with in-home care was fully implemented. He said that at present, it is unknown what—if any—impact it would have on healthcare companies such as his. He informed me that 80% of the care recipients are on a fee for service basis not covered by any type of insurance. He said that, at present, long-term care insurance is a hard sell. Most younger individuals cannot grasp the need for—or the benefits of—this type of insurance.
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