By: Cindy Hasz, Geriatric Care Manager
Having spent a good part of the last year in San Diego working in the home health and home care field, I have come to understand that use of the independent contractor model is actually quite prevalent in home health care.
Hiring either private caregivers or caregivers through an agency who 1099’s their work force is dangerous on many levels. The attraction is that these caregivers usually cost less money than employee caregivers but the risks and exposure you take doing this are not worth the savings.
I’d like to explain here the clear benefits of using caregivers that are through a reputable home care agency. Hiring caregivers as employees through a certified Home Care Agency guarantees the following standards are met:
• Caregivers are criminal background checked.
• Caregivers have been TB tested.
• General liability insurance is provided.
• Worker’s compensation is provided.
• Employees are bonded.
• Services and fees are specified.
All the above is simply not true for most privately hired caregivers. The cost of hiring privately may be less in the short run but it may cost far more in the long run. Most of those who do hire privately are incurring far more tax liability and personal exposure than they are aware. A few families do hire privately and then set the caregiver up as employees through a home business or accountant in order to pay taxes and cover other liabilities.
By the time all this is done however, the costs are near what an agency charges and the family remains without the built-in benefits of an agency not least of which is a 24/7 staff to arrange last minute replacement caregivers and to manage and discipline staff when needed.
If you are looking for home care agencies in San Diego, you can go to the CAHSAH website (Calif. Association of Health Services at Home) at www.cahsah.org and see which agencies are listed and interview several. Make sure to ask about their training program for their caregivers as well as if they have any clinical support and oversight available if needed. More and more home care companies are either hiring a geriatric care manager on staff or associating with a geriatric care management company to add a professional component to their model.
In the next article, I will address some of the further risks involved in hiring privately for your loved-one’s long term care in San Diego.