The home healthcare industry is booming and home healthcare agencies continue to grow in popularity, since more and more people prefer to be cared for in the comfort of their own homes. If you are reading this, you are certainly looking to take advantage of the great demand for in-home healthcare and start your own home healthcare agency.
If that is the case, you are about to make one serious decision that requires thorough planning, great background experience and, most of all, huge responsibility. After all, you will be taking care of people’s health, no matter if you do it directly or indirectly, with only your name as an agency owner on the paper.
Starting any kind of business takes careful planning and requires an investment of both time and money, so it is vital that you conduct thorough research about the industry you are about to indulge in before you actually head on your way to becoming a business owner. When it comes to home healthcare businesses, apart from requiring quite a lot of care and forethought, they come with great responsibility, considerable compliance, and liability requirements.
What you are certainly aware of is that home healthcare is a field that has strong potential for profit but, in order for you to be able to make some, you need to take all the right steps towards making sure your agency meets all the necessary regulations. You need to comply with all the special requirements in order to be able to get your new business off the ground and lay the foundation for a successful and lucrative business that will not only offer benefits to you as a business owner, but also to your customers as patients of your home healthcare agency.
Every home healthcare business is regulated by the state it operates in, so starting and running your own home healthcare agency can be a bit complicated. Therefore, take a look at the following steps you need to take in order to make sure you start a successful home healthcare agency that will make everyone want to come to you for any care they may need.
First Things First – What Type of Home Healthcare Agency Are You Going to Run?
There are two types of home healthcare agencies you can choose to run, so you need to understand the distinction between them before you start planning anything. You can start a non-medical home healthcare agency, which means you will offer services that include personal care, housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation, and overall assistance with daily activities.
The other type of agency you can start is a medical or skilled home healthcare agency which, as the name itself implies, includes skilled nursing and services regarding rehab therapy under the orders of a licensed physician. It goes without saying that starting this kind of business requires a licence and special certifications that you must have in order to be able to run a legal and responsible business.
Choose a Franchise or Start on Your Own?
This is a decision that depends completely on your own desires and objectives, not to mention your financial situation. Starting on your own is certainly more cost-effective, since there are no franchise fees, and startup costs are usually lower. However, although you have full independence, you also have many more obligations and requirements needed to be complied with and addressed in detail.
If you decide to team up with a particular home healthcare franchise, you will not have to worry about startup costs, but you will need to pay a franchise fee for starting your business. However, that fee comes with a business model, as well as complete guidance and support all the way through your startup.
There is not much flexibility and independence when it comes to implementing business strategies when a franchise is in question, but that can even turn out to be an advantage, as you will have fewer worries regarding strategies, tactics and different methods for growing and expanding a business, for instance, so you can focus solely on providing your patients with the best possible medical services you can give.
If you choose to start your own home healthcare agency, you should know that formal training and experience in providing medical services are not required. What you do need to have are good communication and organizational skills, as well as an ability to plan and implement a good business strategy. Here is everything you need to do if you decide to start your own home healthcare agency.
Obtain an Operating License
You must have an operating licence in order to be able to start your home healthcare agency. Licensing requirements differ depending on the state in which you want to operate, so you need to check with the department of health and human services of that state first. They will provide you with all the documentation and paperwork, as well as inform you about all the fees you need to submit in order to file for your business startup.
For obtaining the license for operating your business, you may be required to provide a detailed business package along with your licensing application. Therefore, you may have to provide your business plan and a detailed description of all the planned operational policies. You may even have to pass a criminal background screening, as well as provide licences and resumes of your prospective employees who are going to take care of your patients.
Find an Office Space
After you have registered your business with the Secretary of State in and obtained an operating licence, you need to find a space for your office. If you wish to save some money, you may want to avoid crowded, high-traffic spaces, as those tend to be a bit expensive, so you should go for a location that is cheaper, but suitable and easily accessible.
It doesn’t have to be something grand; you need to have enough space for your office, for a reception room and for a conference room, so you can certainly find something small that will meet your needs without breaking the bank.
Hire Home Healthcare Providers
Your home healthcare agency will be as good as its caregivers are. Your reputation will highly depend on the quality of care they provide, so you must conduct thorough research and do a background check on each and every one of your prospective employees in order to make sure they are competent, resourceful, have adequate knowledge and required skills and, needless to say, are compassionate, since they will be taking care of people.
You must make sure you hire the most qualified healthcare professionals who will not only have proper education and licenses, but also be able to provide medical services with a lot of care and thought. You need to hire physical therapists, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, speech language pathologists, as well as a clinical supervisor and a licensed administrator.
If you are a trained medical professional and want to visit your patients at their homes, you also need to hire someone who will run the office when you are not around. It needs to be someone you trust and, of course, someone qualified for the job. Also, you should hire a secretary who will take all the phone calls and be responsible for making all of the doctor-patient appointments.
Insure Your Business
Apart from having general business insurance for the overall protection of your business, you should have liability insurance coverage, as well as worker’s compensation insurance and professional liability insurance for your employees. All of these types of insurance can be quite expensive, but the price of not having them could be much bigger.
Your employees will be out of your supervision, so there are always certain risks when providing medical services without medical assistance in other people’s homes. Your employees will not be in an organized healthcare facility, so you should really provide them with liability insurance. Additionally, they could also have their own professional liability insurance to always carry with them.
Before your home healthcare agency can be open for business, you need to get Medicare and Medicaid approval. Before they admit you to their program, they will provide you with all the rules and regulations about how you need to operate your business.
It goes without saying that you need to buy all the necessary medical equipment for your agency, as well as all the office supplies you will need to run your business smoothly. Something that will significantly simplify your business is implementing software for in-home healthcare professionals, as it will help you streamline operations easily. Such software offers fully-integrated home healthcare management system that will help you monitor all the operations and effectively improve your agency.
Starting a home healthcare agency, whether you decide to do it on your own or opt for teaming up with a particular franchise, can be a lengthy process but, if you follow the aforementioned tips and comply with the necessary rules and regulations, you will manage to do it properly and lay the foundation for a quality business that will provide all of its patients with the best possible healthcare.