Over the Thanksgiving weekend we received notice that Caring Companion Home Care is among the first home care agencies in the state to earn accreditation from the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts (HCA). The alliance's accreditation protocol promotes quality service, caregiver training and competency, ethical business standards, and superior employment practices in an industry that lacks meaningful licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The accreditation was all the more rewarding because Caring Companion Connections is only the third west of Boston to be accredited among independently-owned, private-pay home care agencies -- i.e., we are not a franchise, and we are not affiliated with a hospital or other large organization. This is a family business. My dad started in Florida in 1992 at his kitchen table, and now my two sisters and I have independent agencies in our home states. Being recognized within the industry is a point of pride for all of us. Our recent mention by National Public Radio's Aging in America broadcast series was a big boost; this accreditation is another.
Our metro-west Boston area office is directed by Deborah Bier, PhD -- like me, a long-time Concord resident. We have just expanded with a new Boston office to better serve clients and families in the city. We are proud to be in the initial group of agencies to promote accreditation standards, all of which are a part of Caring Companion’s commitment to a higher quality of care. These standards help consumers choose agencies worthy of trust, as they come to see the many advantages of keeping people independent in their homes and as part of the community.
The Home Care Alliance launched its accreditation program this summer for private pay agencies (those not paid by Medicare or Medicaid). Agencies seeking accreditation are required to prove that they meet standards of excellence established by the Alliance.
Working with Debbie over the past year to build the agency has been a delight. She has the same commitment to clients and caregivers that I do. Her attitude is that our very high standards of care are a reflection of what is required to deliver home care in the 21st century. Meeting – and even exceeding – accreditation requirements is simply what we owe our clients and their families. The accreditation standards were developed in consultation with agencies across the Commonwealth and reflect their combined wisdom and experience.
I spoke recently with Pat Kelleher, executive director of the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts. Pat has led the effort to develop these standards. “We wanted to provide leadership in an area that is becoming more and more important to the health care delivery system in Massachusetts," she said recently. "These standards highlight our agencies’ best practices, and will help guide members of the public as they choose who will take care of their loved ones in their homes.” HCA has accredited less than 20% of its membership.
So thank you to all our supporters, clients, and caregivers. You have made the last year exciting and rewarding. Building the agency has been a challenge, but it has been fun, and we are delighted to take this next step as we travel through our second year of service in Massachusetts.