Home Care Industry Regulations: An Interview with Joe Stefanko

Home Care Industry Regulations: An Interview with Joe Stefanko

Rules and regulations are imperative in the home care industry, which is why Joe Stefanko, Homewatch International’s field operations manager, is an invaluable part of our team. Joe is a member of the National Private Duty Association (NPDA) Policy Formation Committee, and works to oversee the rules and regulations that govern homecare agencies in U.S. — implementing them across all Homewatch CareGivers locations.

What benefits does the NPDA bring to Homewatch CareGivers?

The NPDA is a national organization that promotes the interest of private duty home care. They ensure that senior caregivers are trained and supervised properly, and that clients are cared for in the best manner possible. The NPDA brings knowledge and expertise to the private duty home care business, and oversees legislation, ensuring good decisions are made for the industry.

In your opinion, what is the most timely and important contribution the NPDA has made to the home care industry?

The NPDA recently participated in lobby day, visited Washington D.C. to talk to senators and congressmen, and stood up for the rights of small businesses in regards to employee health benefit mandates. All of our work is starting to pay off - some legislators have taken into consideration how the mandates will affect small businesses and have introduced legislation to remove those mandates. Small businesses, much like Homewatch International and individual Homewatch CareGivers franchise locations, would have been handed huge bills for not being able to provide health benefits to employees, had the legislation not been questioned. and changed. All small businesses want to provide their employees the best benefits possible, but cost and available insurances to small businesses, oftentimes makes it a challenge. Now, thanks to the NPDA’s advocacy, individual franchise partners won’t have to worry about paying for something they can’t afford.

What is the largest issue in the home care industry currently, and how are the NPDA and Homewatch CareGivers handling it?

The biggest issue is being able to make the services provided accessible to everyone. Access to private duty home care is hindered due to the fact that many insurances, including Medicaid and Medicare, don’t cover home care services — and the mass aren’t able to pay out-of-pocket. This results in the ill and elderly being forced into other living arrangements, since they have to rely on other payer sources that don’t believe home care is necessary or simply won’t cover it.

In response, the NPDA is currently recommending that home care be included in the CLASS ACT section of Health Care Reform as a permitted use of a person’s funds. To also help with making home care accessible, Homewatch CareGivers franchise partners aim to keep their rates reasonable. The long-term care insurance industry is also beginning to utilize home care agencies as a viable care solution.

How do you maintain the highest level of standards for Homewatch CareGivers?

It’s important that Homewatch CareGivers is in constant contact with the NPDA — learning and sharing the latest news and information. Our franchise partners know, understand, and are following the industry rules, and are also offered best practice ideas the moment new data hits the pipeline.

We are also making sure we’re on the forefront of issues by being involved in activism on a national and state level, and taking any possible steps to better the big picture of home care.

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