ANCOR Past-President Dissed by Home Care Association of America!

By Wendy Swager posted 08-29-2013 06:47 PM


ANCOR Past-President Dissed by Home Care Association of America!

BY: Wendy Swager (Sokol)

Imagine my shock and horror when the COO for the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) stopped returning my calls and e-mails.  One of their staff actually hung up on me! Why?  What could possibly cause such behavior?  The use of Independent Contractors is challenging many of the basic premises on which some providers and associations have built their organizations.

Recently Contractor Management Services (CMS), a third party provider of technology and support for independent contractors was refused vendor or exhibitor status by HCAOA for their upcoming conference.  CMS is at the forefront of providing the support, technology and expertise to minimize the risk to providers and Direct Care Workers.  In fact, CMS has developed industry specific on-line resources to manage the independent contractor’s agreements, credentials, CEUs, payroll, taxes, medical & dental care and more. 

I was so perplexed by HCAOA actions that I made three phone calls and left two e-mails only to be ignored.  This was after the COO and I had engaged in two lengthy conversations that included representatives from CMS.  Kevin Smith, COO with HCAOA, saw the new IC model as a “hybrid.”  He stated the model was a win-win and offered protection and safety to the consumer while simultaneously offering better income and benefits to the direct care worker. I have always stated that is not just about the competitive edge. It is about promoting entrepreneurialism and creating an edge for our DCWS. 

As Independent Contractors the Direct Care Workers:

  • take home pay will increase approximately 20% immediately and they will have the opportunity to further increase their take home pay by claiming service related expenses as business expenses against their income. These business expenses are not available to employees.
  • may work as many hours as they wish (there are no over-time concerns) and the Companionship Exemption becomes a moot point.
  • will likely be eligible to participate in free or significantly reduced health care under the Affordable Care Act.
  • will be protected by Occupational and Accident insurance which is superior to Workers Compensation because it includes additional benefits such as accidental death and survivor benefits, disability and dismemberment benefits, and certain accident and non-occupational medical benefits.
  • will gain a sense of entrepreneurialism and ownership and will experience the professionalization of their industry. Direct Care Workers can hold their heads high as a professional business owner with a career rather than just a “job.”
 How could a model that protects the worker, while simultaneously protecting the consumer, be perceived as sinister?  Under the right of choice model, the consumer has the right to select their Direct Care Worker and if not totally satisfied with the quality of care, to terminate the contract.  The Independent Contractor model protects the consumer’s right of choice as it holds the provider legally and contractually responsible for the oversight and assurance that service is delivered based on the contract, state standards and both state and federal laws, and the industry standard of care. 

Furthermore, the consumer is offered additional protection as the Independent Contractor is required to carry Occupational and Accident insurance while the provider is required to carry comprehensive professional liability insurance. Finally, the consumer will have no artificial restrictions placed on them regarding who may provide services based on such matters as overtime, mileage, etc.  The consumer has the right to choose who provides their services as long as the Direct Care Worker meets the minimum standards set by the respective states.

 I called again but my words fell on deaf ears once more.

I turned up the heat and stated, “I hope that you will advocate for a reverse of the decision that was communicated to CMS by XXXXX. The exclusion of CMS implies a McCarthyism attitude towards an innovative model and an inevitable change. This is a time for education and the opportunity for your association and membership to make an informed decision based on fact not discrimination based on the history of a few providers from a distant past.  Judge me based on the quality of services we will continue to deliver to our 1,500 clients in Arizona.  Tell me why my direct care workers would offer any less quality services to the people they support as an IC then they have for the past 13 years as an employee? Tell me why my direct care workers would have reduced quality when they will take home more money an hour and have better benefits as an IC then are afforded by an employment model? Tell me why I would advocate for this change unless it assured high quality outcomes for my clients? I own my company and have grown it based on the delivery of exceptional quality.  We are the largest in-home provider in the Tucson area.  We are 'the provider of choice' and I can assure you that I would not make this decision unless it made good business sense and assured the continuation or improvement of outcomes for my customers”.

No response……….

I am thankful that ANCOR believes it is their responsibility to educate membership on changes that are occurring in the industry.  Each provider can make an informed decision regarding what is best for their company, DCWs and consumers!

Come learn about this innovative model through ANCORs webinars in September and October.  They are available FREE to all ANCOR members and for a minimal charge to non-members. They are scheduled at the following times:

Date:  Wednesday   September 25, 2013

Time:  1:30 – 2:45pm ET


Date:  Wednesday   October 9, 2013

Time:  1:30 – 2:45pm ET