Finding “Beauty in Small Things”

2020 has been a year to remember. It has been challenging, and in many ways heartbreaking. Yet, as the holidays and the season of giving approaches and we take time to connect with our loved ones and reflect, I want to share with you something special that was once shared with me. I encourage you all to find “beauty in small things.”

A few years ago, I was fortunate to have my path briefly cross with an individual like no other. A brilliant statistician, innovative thought-leader, and friend. The day he hired me to work as a member of his research, analytics, and innovation team was also the day that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. During the time I spent working with him, he shared everything and anything he could. He was passionate about data and ensuring that his work, our work, would also “not just be the numbers but would have an impact.” 

He taught me to be curious, but patient in those years. Shared that laughter was always welcome at the board room table, and to not to take yourself so seriously. He was kind and maybe a little rough around the edges; a model leader, despite not ever wanting to step into that roll. He believed creativity was one of our most important tools in the toolbox. And he made everyone around him want to be a little better than before. 

Most of all Mike Fassino taught me to “find beauty in small things.” In the time before he passed away, he shared his love for nature and the small, nuanced things in the world. He loved the unusual and the unique. Music and food were joyous gifts and should be shared between friends and family. There was beauty to be found in all things, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant. The worn  door on the house at the end of the street with the peeling paint, the caterpillar making a journey across the rock garden, sunlight streaming through the tree canopy, the taste of freshly brewed coffee, all beautiful in their own right.

2020 has been hard, but it has also been beautiful in its own unique way. There has been a lot of laughter in our home. Lots of days where pajamas were worn and ice cream eaten for breakfast. There was coffee on the back porch watching the sunrise, and moments of wonderment watching that same sun set across the horizon and a fire break out across the sky in hues of pink and gold. 

As I stopped to reflect on 2020 and embrace Mike’s words, I realized that 2020, despite its ongoing chaos, has truly been an opportunity. It has been a time to value the BIG, the sacrifices and hard work of our essential workers out on the front lines providing care and service to the most vulnerable. A time to usher in innovation, ingenuity, and creativity as we all work to stay home and stay safe. But it has also been a time to value the SMALL, to value and appreciate one another, our humanness despite our flaws; to be thankful for one another and the unique and wonderful gifts each of us brings. Mike taught me to find and be grateful for beauty in the seemingly insignificant and small, for those small things, those small moments add to our overall life experience.

So, as the chaos of 2020 continues around us, I encourage you remember to enjoy the little things, to find hope in the promise of what is to come and the strength in those who you surround yourself with,  and most of all to find the “beauty in small things.”

  • Emilie Bartolucci, Executive Director, Private Duty Home Care at NAHC

Pressure for ‘targeted’ coronavirus relief bill grows as time dwindles

  • Some top Democrats say a smaller package would be better than nothing

House lawmakers left Washington on Friday for Thanksgiving recess with no sign of progress on a new coronavirus relief package.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and President-elect Joe Biden were meeting in Wilmington, Del., later Friday to talk about their agenda. Publicly, their position has been that Republicans ought to drop their opposition to a $2 trillion-plus aid bill in the lame-duck session.

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Advisory Board Profile: Melissa Kalinowski, Vice President at Corridor Group

The Private Duty Home Care Advisory Board is made of some of the most experienced and talented leaders in the private duty community. Each of our Advisory board members is committed to the mission and vision of the organization and ensuring our members are well represented and receive the tools, support, and resources you need to provide the highest quality and caliber care and services to your clients and families. 

In our reccurring Advisory Board Profile series, we invite you to get to know our advisory board members better through a short Q&A interview, and learn more about why they choose to dedicate their professional lives to the private duty home care community. 

This week, we have the pleasure of sharing a little more with you about Melissa Kalinowski, Vice President Corridor Group.

Melissa, tell me about how you would describe what you do to someone you just met.

I lead Corridor’s Coding Services business line, a global operation and cross-functional team of highly experienced clinicians and operations experts delivering tech-enabled coding and documentation review services to home health & hospice organizations across the country.  

Tell me about how you ended up working in private duty home care. How did your professional journey bring you to where you are today?

I actually don’t work directly in private duty home care.  Although my current profession is centered around home health and hospice, our education service line works with private duty policy and state specific policy, which is expanding our reach & strengthening our knowledge in this market.  

Why choose private duty home care? Why not something else, or some other part of home care?

I wanted to be part of private duty home care to get further exposed to the needs of the clients & industry and leverage Corridor’s platform as a way to reach audiences that cross private duty, home health and hospice agencies.

What do you find to be the most rewarding about your job?

Being able to solve our client’s coding services problems regardless of their size, EMR, staff capabilities, etc. is most rewarding because it allows our clients to focus on providing excellent patient care while we take care of their business needs.  

Conversely, what do you find to be most challenging?

The most challenging aspect of the job is recognizing that not all client partnerships work out. While it is very few and far between, working with a client & realizing we aren’t the most compatible, is something that we agree to disagree in order to move forward.  We want to do what’s right for both organizations.

What do you most look forward to professionally in private duty home care?  Why?

I look forward to working with the Private Duty Home Care at NAHC advisory board members.  They are a dedicated team, who has a wealth of knowledge to share with the Private duty home care industry.  

What is the one thing that keeps you up at night professionally?

Being able to continue to anticipate our client’s needs and finding innovative solutions that broadens our reach within the post-acute care industry.

What made you first get involved with private duty home care at NAHC?

I have several Corridor colleagues that are NAHC board and committee members and thought this was a great way to get involved and see what parallels I can draw from & how I can contribute to this group.

What would you say to someone considering becoming a Private Duty Home Care at NAHC member?

This group is very welcoming and always open to ideas and feedback.  Their passion about the industry and willingness to advocate on behalf of the industry is apparent. 

What would you say to someone who was considering a career in private duty home care?

Maintaining various degrees of independence in a person’s home is a top priority for most people and being a contributor to that longevity of lifestyle is rewarding.  

On behalf of everyone at the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, we thank Melissa for her detailed and candid responses. We are honored to have her as a distinguished member of the PD Advisory Board and thank her for her dedication, commitment, and passion to the Private Duty home care community. 

Honoring More of the Best Home Care Aides in America

Last month, NAHC and CellTrak announced they would be giving $500 scholarships to some of the best and most deserving home care aides in the United States during Home Care and Hospice Month, which is November. Earlier this month we recognized the first batch of winners of those scholarship. Today, we will recognize the remaining winners this month.

This is Home Care and Hospice Month and NAHC thinks it is more important than ever, during this month and during this year, when so much has been asked of and given by frontline health care workers, that we recognize and honor home care aides, who make quality care in the home possible.

The additional winners of the NAHC-CellTrak Home Care Aide Scholarships are:

Carolyn Camby from All Ways Caring HomeCare

Rachel Reynolds from Elk Valley Health Services

Cabriska Wright from Functional Independence Home Care

Noelle Wilson from Partners in Care

Rebecca Von Rueden from Prohealth Home care and Hospice

Ann Literski from ProHealth Home Care and Hospice

Christal Ennis from ComForCare Home Care

Tamika Beverly from Addus HomeCare

Tammy Bull from Richmond County Hospice

Click the link in each name to learn more about the winner and why she is such a remarkable home care aide and recipient of this scholarship.

Congratulations to all the winners! They embody the spirit of caring and committment to care that is necessary for a great home care aide. These are some of the finest people in home care and as a society we owe them more than we can say. They do difficult work without complaint and what could be more important or more noble than caring for the most vulnerable people in our society.

“This scholarship is a proven way to help home care aides advance their careers, tell their stories of what caregiving means to them, and highlight the difference it has made in the lives of their patients,” says William A. Dombi, Esq., President of NAHC. “America needs to hear from the people who provide care to our most vulnerable citizens.”

“With the impact of COVID on our industry, we realized our commitment to the scholarship program for 2020 needed to be doubled, to 20 scholarships! In March, many of our home care aides found themselves forced to make tough choices, and yet they remained at the forefront of caring for our family and friends in their homes. Because of their dedication, we want to recognize and support their efforts in continuing a career path as a homecare hero!” Andrew Kaboff, Founder of CellTrak.

In-Home Caregivers Prefer Virtual Training

Virtual training has emerged as critical for in-home caregivers during the COVID-19 public health emergency and that development is likely to continue in 2021, even after the pandemic ends, accordingt to a new survey of 11,000 home caregivers across the United States by Medflyt, a HIPAA-compliant web-based workforce management platform for home care agencies.

Over 83 percent of surveyed caregivers have become more interested in in-service mobile training since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the survey, and 60 percent would rather be trained online instead of in person.

In addition, 38 percent of respondents wanted to onboard remotely, a much higher figure than before the start of the public health emergency.

“The pandemic has forced the homecare industry to digitally transform sooner than expected, creating a skills/training gap as patients rely on at-home health care,” said Levi Y. Pavlovsky, COO and co-founder of Medflyt. “Based on our findings, it’s clear that agencies are in need of solutions to help simplify caregiver staffing, training and compliance. In addition, caregivers are looking for more mobile-based options.”

Most (62 percent) of caregivers said that easy and quick onboarding and ease of staffing are reasons to stay with or choose one agency over another. Additionally, 44 percent said better communication and and flexibility from agencies would considerably improve their training.

A majority (54 percent) of respondents said they want to be educated on topics related to the public health emergency such as social distancing, regulations and sanitation, in relation to their work.

“The data also shows that caregivers need more communication from their agencies,” added Pavlovsky. “In-home health care remains one of the most underserved and unappreciated industries, and the challenges posed by COVID-19 have called attention to that sentiment. Through our suite of solutions that aim to provide the resources and flexibility caregivers and agencies need to continue to provide quality care to every patient, Medflyt is in a position to change that.”

Advisory Board Profile: Dr. Lucy Andrews, CEO At Your Service Home Care

The Private Duty Home Care Advisory Board is made of some of the most experienced and talented leaders in the private duty community. Each of our Advisory board members is committed to the mission and vision of the organization and ensuring our members are well represented and receive the tools, support, and resources you need to provide the highest quality and caliber care and services to your clients and families. 

In our reccurring Advisory Board Profile series, we invite you to get to know our advisory board members better through a short Q&A interview, and learn more about why they choose to dedicate their professional lives to the private duty home care community. 

This week, we have the pleasure of sharing a little more with you about Dr. Lucy Andrews, CEO of At Your Service Home Care.

Dr. Andrews, tell me about how you would describe what you do to someone you just met.

I passionately advocate and care for those whose goal is living with health and independence at home.

Tell me about how you ended up working in private duty home care. How did your professional journey bring you to where you are today?

I started my nursing career 40 years ago, worked in hospital systems for ten years, and then discovered home care services. Since that time, I have worked in every aspect of home care services; home health, hospice, home care aide services and all the other post-acute care services… SNF, DME scheduler, etc. If it is home care I have done it, that just shows you I’m “old”… Oh, I mean experienced.

Along the way I earned my masters in healthcare administration and my doctorate degree in nursing, with the emphasis on dementia and the aging brain.         

Why choose private duty home care? Why not something else, or some other part of home care?

After I worked for almost 10 years in the Medicare-certified world, I realized there was a whole other aspect of home care that really made the ultimate difference for people as they strived to stay independent at home. While the nurse and the physical therapist are crucial to their goal of independence, often times what ultimately kept someone at home was having an aide there that helped them get dressed, cook a meal, and helped them combat isolation and loneliness. I found this so compelling that I left the home health setting and opened my own home care agency; that was 18 years ago         

What do you find to be the most rewarding about your job?

Making a difference in the life of another person.

Conversely, what do you find to be most challenging?

Finding and retaining staff.

What is your favorite memory working in private duty home care? Why?

The day I opened and took our first patient for care.

What is the one thing that keeps you up at night professionally?

Staffing (laughs out loud)

What made you first get involved with NAHC and Private Duty Home Care at NAHC?

I have been a NAHC member for 30 years and only missed one annual meeting, which was when my house burned down. I was on the original team that started the Private Duty Home Care Association (PDHCA), now Private Duty Home Care at NAHC. 

What would you say to someone considering becoming a NAHC Private Duty Home Care member?

NAHC offers the best advocacy education and representation that we home care providers need to survive and succeed every day.

What would you say to someone who was considering a career in private duty home care?

People think it’s easy and there are no regulations because we are not Medicare-certified to receive Medicare payments. It isn’t quite that easy, but it is the most rewarding career you can have!

***

On behalf of everyone at the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, we thank Dr. Andrews for her detailed and candid responses. We are honored to have her as a distinguished, and long-time, member of the PD Advisory Board and thank her for her dedication, commitment, and passion to the private duty home care community. 

“Littler: Ask the Experts”

Through Private Duty Home Care at NAHC’s partnership with Littler Mendelson P.C Labor & Employment Law Solutions, we are excited to share the “Ask the Experts” Article. Each week, we will feature a new question, from you our members, related to workplace issues and topics that will be answered from our experts and partners at Littler. 

This week’s question comes from one of our Private Duty Home Care members and concerns pay for travel time to assignments.

Question: I just started my own agency and one of my employees, a home care aide, is asking if she is entitled to additional pay for the time it takes her to drive to her client’s homes. Is this something I am required to pay?

Answer by Angelo Spinola

Different states have different rules for travel time, but generally speaking work related travel between client homes within a single day of work must be paid under federal and state law.  Under federal law, the Portal-to-Portal Act eliminates “from working time certain travel and walking time and other similar ‘preliminary’ and ‘postliminary’ activities performed ‘prior’ or  ‘subsequent’  to  the  ‘workday’  that  are  not  made  compensable  by  contract,  custom,  or practice.”  29 C.F.R. § 785.9.  Thus, employers do not typically have to compensate employees under the following two situations: (1) normal home-to-work and work-to-home travel; and (2) other activities considered preliminary and postliminary to an employee’s principal job activities. Id.   As such, home to work, or work to home travel, is not compensable in an ordinary situation. 

 Under federal law, assuming an employee has engaged in no work activities prior to the start of travel, employers generally do not have to count as time worked the time an employee spends “walking, riding, or traveling to and from the actual place of performance of the principal activity or activities, which such employee is employed to perform” either at the beginning or end of the workday.  29 C.F.R. § 785.34.  However, travel time from job site to job site during the course of the work day is considered work time. 29 C.F.R. § 785.38. The United States Department of Labor has advised that, where the travel is not direct from job site to job site, such that the employee is relieved from duty for a period sufficient to engage in purely personal pursuits, only the time necessary to travel directly from the first job site to the second job site is considered compensable travel time.  See United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, Domestic Service Final Rule Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), http://www.dol.gov/whd/homecare/faq.htm.  The U.S. DOL’s FAQ materials provide the following example:

Tiffany is a direct care worker who is employed by Handy Home Care Agency. She provides services to two of the agency’s clients, Mr. Jackson, from 9:00am to 11:30am, and Mr. Smith, from 2:00pm to 6:00pm. Tiffany drives to the two different worksites which are 30 minutes apart. She leaves Mr. Jackson’s home at 11:30am and goes to a restaurant for lunch, shops for herself, and then arrives at Mr. Smith’s home at 2:00pm.

Because Tiffany is completely relieved from duty long enough to use the time effectively for her own purposes (i.e., lunch and shopping) not all of the time is hours worked. The 30 minutes required to travel between the two homes is hours worked and, as of January 1, 2015, must be paid by the Handy Home Care Agency even though Tiffany did not travel directly between consumers.

About Littler

At Littler, we understand that workplace issues can’t wait. With access to more than 1,500 employment attorneys in over 80 offices around the world, our clients don’t have to. We aim to go beyond best practices, creating solutions that help clients navigate a complex business world. With deep experience and resources that are local, everywhere, we are fully focused on your business. With a diverse team of the brightest minds, we foster a culture that celebrates original thinking. And with powerful proprietary technology, we disrupt the status quo – delivering groundbreaking innovation that prepares employers not just for what’s happening today, but for what’s likely to happen tomorrow. For over 75 years, our firm has harnessed these strengths to offer fresh perspectives on each matter we advise, litigate, mediate, and negotiate. Because at Littler, we’re fueled by ingenuity and inspired by you.

Angelo Spinola is a Shareholder with Littler Mendelson P.C., and is a lead attorney for the Home Care Practice Group. He represents home care employers across the country in various types of actions brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act and various state wage and hour laws. Appearing on behalf of employers in federal and state courts and administrative tribunals throughout the U.S., Angelo has litigated all types of discrimination cases, including age, disability, race, national origin, sex, harassment and retaliation. Angelo’s experience also includes helping employers respond to wage and hour investigations by the Department of Labor and state agency equivalents, conducting wage and hour practices audits, developing compliance measures that minimize wage and hour exposure, and representing management in grievance arbitrations. Additionally, Angelo assists employers with promoting an issue-free work environment through counseling, training and other preventive strategies. He also conducts training on employment-related issues for management personnel, lawyers and human resources professionals. Angelo received a J.D. from George Washington University Law School.

Save the Date: The Private Duty Home Care at NAHC Winter Leadership Summit

Private Duty Home Care at NAHC is asking you to save the date of February 23, 2021 for the first annual Winter Leadership Summit, a virtual meeting focused on Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Innovation.

It is our commitment to empower you and your organization, through education,  to consistently deliver the highest quality services, setting the standard for excellence in practice today and for the future. 

This inaugural, one-day education event is focused on our core service offerings with content curated and cultivated specifically by and for the private duty home care community.

With insight and advice from the most trusted and experienced experts in home care, the Winter Leadership Summit will be a must-attend event, featuring critical content you cannot get anywhere else.

Registration opens soon and more details are coming, so stay tuned to the Private Duty Source and other NAHC communication for more information.

We look forward to seeing you on February 23, 2021!

Two Must-Attend Webinars for Private Duty

Private Duty Home Care at NAHC is pleased to announce to new webinars that will air in early and mid-December 2020, both devoted to the most important issues impacting private duty home care. Both webinars require registration, but are free to NAHC members.

The latest in NAHC’s Monthly Update webinar series will air on Thursday, December 3, 2020 from 3:00 to 4:00PM Eastern. During this webinar, private duty home care owners, operators, and managers will have the chance to familiarize themselves with key factors that will help their businesses thrive during unprecedented times, such as COVID, and beyond. You will hear examples and best practices from an accomplished owner and operator that you’ll be able to use for your own private duty home care business.

Faculty for this webinar will be Emilie R. Bartolucci, MPA, CPXP, Executive Director, Private Duty Home Care at NAHC.
Registration is free to NAHC members and $45 for non-members. Registration will open soon.

The second upcoming webinar is the Home Care Industry Update Year in Review and 2021 Projections. This webinar will air on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 from 2:00 to 4:00PM Eastern.

NAHC has partnered with Littler Mendelson to provide a webinar series to assist home health and home care providers to navigate through the complex and seemingly ever-changing legal landscape.

Faculty

  • Angelo Spinola, Shareholder, Co-Chair, Home Health and Home Care Industry Group, Littler
  • William Vail, Special Counsel,Littler
  • William A. Dombi, Esq. President, NAHC

This webinar is free, but registration is required. Registration will open soon.

Advisory Board Profile: C. Sam Smith, CEO, Better Residential Care

The Private Duty Home Care Advisory Board is made of some of the most experienced and talented leaders in the private duty community. Each of our Advisory board members is committed to the mission and vision of the organization and ensuring our members are well represented and receive the tools, support, and resources you need to provide the highest quality and caliber care and services to your clients and families. 

In our reccurring Advisory Board Profile series we invite you to get to know our advisory board members better through a short Q&A interview, and learn more about why they choose to dedicate their professional lives to the private duty home care community. 

This week, we have the pleasure of sharing a little more with you about C. Sam Smith, CEO Better Residential Care.

Sam, tell me about how you would describe what you do to someone you just met. 

I own and operate a small private duty personal care services agency known as Better Residential Care (BRC) in the Chicagoland area. We generally provide “in home personal care services to people who need attendant care yet prefer to stay in their residence rather than an institutional setting”.

Tell me about how you ended up working in private duty home care. How did your professional journey bring you to where you are today?  

I have been involved in home health care and home care since 2008…I began in the IT area as a CIO of a 5-agency Texas based group in the DFW area. I transitioned to a BD role with a home health EMR named Axxess in 2011, growing that SaaS provider’s footprint from 100 to over 2000 clients until I departed in 2018.

Why choose private duty home care? Why not something else, or some other part of home care?

It is a serendipity. I had the inside opportunity due to my long- term friendship and business partnership with a prominent Chicagoland HH operator, gained through my experience with Axxess. A personal care services agency was the perfect complement to the HH/Medicare business he was/is involved in. (His agency is no longer a client of Axxess, having departed as a client a month after my departure.) He serves on my board and I advise his agency. We enjoy working together.

What do you find to be the most rewarding about your job?

Through operating our agency, I have the opportunity to actively participate in the provision of services so that people can continue in living their best life and maintaining a positive attitude even though they may be aged and in need to assistance with the activities of daily living.

Conversely, what do you find to be most challenging?

Developing the relationships which lead to finding the right patient/clients for our agency’s services. I am fortunate to have become involved in an agency which has an active network of caregivers.

What Is your favorite memory working in Private duty home care? Why?

It has been an ongoing thing. I have had the opportunity of experiencing the joy of the active schedule of one of our clients (Ms. Loretta) who is now a 101 year old lady who leads “Great Texts” teaching modules at the ILF where she resides. Loretta has taken our agency and our caregivers into her extended family, which contains 2 sons and wives and their children—such a wonderful local family. She started her teaching group with a group of 3 residents. That group grew over a matter of months into a combined class of over 70 folks, causing a need to expand into larger and larger spaces with more need for technology to provide the lessons digitally. Her life is such a “positive energy force” and just two weeks ago had her 101st birthday. 

She is an example for me in maintaining a lifelong learning posture and a love of life that I want to emulate myself.

What is the one thing that keeps you up at night professionally?

Attracting new clients. I have found that our caregiver community is a network which bring new clients to us…Sometimes making sure the right CG is matched with the right client. (As for matters that keep me up at night, I generally sleep ok.)

What made you first get involved with private duty home care at NAHC?

I had been involved with NAHC as a BD leadership person with Axxess and was familiar with what NAHC was all about. I respected the mission and vision for both NAHC and the state associations, many of whose executive directors and active members I had come to know personally. 

I acquired the agency in Chicago and was asked to serve as a private duty home care advisor. Of course, I wanted to add my assistance in any way I could.

What would you say to someone considering becoming a Private Duty Home Care at NAHC member?

Add your voice to the thousands of voices who effectively share the mission, vision and message of home care to the statehouses in each state and the Congress in Washington, DC. There is work to be done, and we need your help to keep the message being spread to the halls of Congress.

What would you say to someone who was considering a career in private duty home care?

Be a part of helping others live their best life. Find a role and pitch in.

***

On behalf of everyone at the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, we thank Sam for his detailed and candid responses. We are honored to have him as a distinguished member of the PD Advisory Board and thank him for her dedication, commitment, and passion to the Private Duty home care community.