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Making home care tax deductible is a top priority for many clients and families who are struggling with the high cost of quality, legally compliant in home services. In a presentation to home care professionals sponsored by CAHSAH on February 28, 2018, Doug Mueller, President of Mueller Prost, asserted that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 succeeds in making home care tax deductible for many households, if certain criteria are met....

The 2017 Taste of Rancho Santa Fe benefits 10 Local Charities, said Lauren Reynolds, Founder of At Home Nursing Care and Co-Chair of the 2017 Taste of Rancho Santa Fe. At Home Nursing Care offers accredited quality home care in San Diego and Los Angeles. The Taste of Rancho Santa Fe event, taking place on Sunday, October 1, 2017 at the Inn of Rancho Santa Fe – hopes to raise more than $100,000 to benefit ten local non-profits. “Through our application and screening process, we picked non-profits which align with the Rotary core value of service over self – with an emphasis on under-served communities,” said Laura MacKinnon, President of the Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Foundation which is the charity arm of the local Rotary club. With 22 wineries/breweries and 10 restaurants committed already to participate in this year’s Taste of Rancho Santa Fe, the 5th annual, the event promises to be an elegant and festive event. Tickets are on sale now at www.tasteofrsf.org at $100 – and all of the net proceeds are distributed to the causes that participate. Organized and run by the Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club, the event relies mostly on volunteers to keep overhead low, leaving more money for the 10 benefitting charities. Among those picked as a beneficiary of the Taste of Rancho Santa Fe this year is Cancer Angels of San Diego – which provides funds and resources for families struggling with cancer, such as Sergio and Silvia. The couple has three young children, and Sergio was diagnosed with brain cancer. Cancer Angels provided the family with financial assistance. “I have no words. It brings tears to my eyes because I am so grateful that they have helped us so much when we felt like we had no hope for our financial situation and still having to go through all this,” Silvia wrote of their assistance. Another beneficiary is the Eric Paredes Save a Life Foundation, which provides free heart screenings to youth ages 12 to 26 to detect heart conditions that can lead to Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Jacob Li, a student/athlete at Torrey Pines High School, is one of those students who attended a free Eric Paredes Screen Your Teen event at the request of his mother; only to find out he had an irregular heartbeat which required surgical correction. “A quick, painless ECG test of my heart saved my life,” shared Jacob. [caption id="attachment_2635" align="aligncenter" width="150"] Jacob Li - TB Basketball[/caption] After undergoing surgery, he’s back on the court and is feeling healthy. His mother, a Diana Li, is now a board member of the Eric Paredes Save a Life Foundation. “As a parent of a teen found at-risk, I am beyond thankful for this free, lifesaving resource. Don’t wait, register your kids today. It could just save their life,” she said. Learn more at epsavealife.org. Money raised at the 2017 Taste of Rancho Santa Fe will help both...

At Home Nursing Care Founder, Lauren Reynolds, is the Co-Chair of the 2017 Taste of Rancho Santa Fe. The charity event, run by the Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club, raises money for 10 local organizations and is a luxury outdoor wine and food tasting experience. The Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club recently announced that Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty is this year’s title sponsor of the 5th Annual Taste of Rancho Santa Fe. “We are so pleased that Pacific Sotheby’s has joined us as title sponsor and grateful for their support, “said RSF resident Lauren Reynolds, founder of At Home Nursing Care. She, along with Rotary President Luis Carranza, senior mortgage advisor of the Carranza Group at PrimeLending, are co-chairs of the 2017 Taste of Rancho Santa Fe. With 20 wineries, distilleries and breweries already committed, this year’s community event is shaping up to be even bigger and better than last year’s successful Taste, which sold 465 tickets and raised $100,000. The goal this year is to raise $150,000. In addition to Pacific Sotheby’s contribution as $10,000 Title Sponsor, the club received another $5,000 Magnum contribution from a local RSF Rotarian who wished to remain anonymous. Other sponsors include At Home Nursing Care, Kordus Farms, Rescue Express, Bob and Kaaren Bergquist, Hoehn Jaguar-Land Rover, Jere Oren, PM Graphics & Design and DPI Printing. [caption id="attachment_2622" align="alignright" width="150"] Co-Chair Lauren Reynolds with husband Brian Connelly at 2016 Tastee [/caption] Organized by a dozen Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club members who volunteer their time, talent and energy, the event will take place this year on Sunday, Oct. 1, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the grounds of The Inn of Rancho Santa Fe. In addition to wines and spirits, the event will feature food and entertainment. Tickets are on sale now, priced at $100 until Sept. 15 when the price goes up to $125. All net proceeds benefit local nonprofit organizations. [caption id="attachment_2624" align="alignleft" width="150"] 2016 Taste of RSF [/caption] “We have 10 designated nonprofit beneficiaries named this year who are helping to promote the event, including selling tickets, soliciting auction items and volunteering at the event,” Reynolds said. “It’s fun to collaborate and spread the work among all of those who will benefit.” Rotary President Luis Carranza has pledged to hold more social events at local venues, such as The Inn, which have been long time supporters of the Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club. [caption id="attachment_2625" align="aligncenter" width="150"] Luis Carranza with Lauren Reynolds [/caption] “Our next Rotary meeting will be a social at The Inn. We couldn’t do this event without their donation of the grounds, their staff and their marketing support. To have a partner in The Inn for the last three years has been a wonderful example of community-minded service,” Reynolds said. The event, which started as a small wine festival in 2012, has grown each year. Volunteers are putting extra effort into better organization this year, including a completely revamped website at tasteofrsf.org that highlight participants, donors and beneficiaries. “The website is a major improvement. We are highlighting our...

California legislators always act as though they care about protecting the personal information of Californians, unless of course, there's a political or financial reason to go against their core value - which is exactly what's happening to cause a lawmaker and union to propose a new law which violates caregiver privacy. An Article written by Dan Morain of the Sacramento Bee sums it up in the headline, "In the name of helping workers, this bill would strip them of basic privacy." Put basically, Assemblyman Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, has an Assembly Bill 1513 that would "require that employees of private firms, who care for elderly and infirm people in their homes, must divulge their cellphone numbers, mailing addresses and email addresses to unions that seek to organize them." The Assemblyman claims the whole purpose is for the unions to be able to provide more training to the caregivers, but that's a patronizing falsehood. Our caregivers have wonderful and adequate training, at least 12 hours a year ongoing. I can't name a single caregiver who wants more training or less privacy. It's a veiled attempt at using power to support a special interest, the SEIU Union, which gives millions of dollars to lawmakers every year, and helped finance the campaign of Assemblyman Kalra. Home Care agencies across the state are speaking out for their employees, posting comments on the newspaper article and asking lawmakers to do what's right, now what they are paid by special interest groups to do. Our employees have no interest in having their personal information handed out to the highest bidder. The SEIU is the same union which has made 24 Hour Care too expensive for most elderly people, causing caregivers to lose their 24 hour shifts because lawmakers are too afraid to add a "sleep time" deduction that would allow the caregiver to not be paid while they slept overnight. This is what most other states allow, and the Federal Wage Orders allow for sleep time deductions, as well. However, California lawmakers refuse to correct this flaw in our state wage orders, out of fear of upsetting the union. As the minimum wage goes up, caregivers will lose these coveted 24 hour shifts and see their pay drop. That's not union protection. This is what I wrote in response to the Sacramento Bee article. I'm urging state Lawmakers to stop the assault on caregiver privacy. I am not comfortable with personal employee information being shared unless it's for public safety reasons under subpoena from appropriate authorities. That is real protection. To claim that this bill is about training is creating an obviously false sales-pitch. No one really buys that. It's a self serving bill with no true public interest and to insinuate otherwise is patronizing. More elected officials need to take the long view, what's best for California and our workers. No hard working caregiver wants her cell phone,...

Denial is a powerful self-preservation tool - it helps to keep us hopeful and moving forward in bad situations. But denial of a parent's or client's lack of capacity with respect to credit cards and money is the perfect backdrop for financial fraud. Lack of financial capacity requires some sort of action to keep people safe. As providers of in home care, we see it all the time, a lady with "senior moments" in her 80's who is not "diagnosed" with dementia - so her family looks the other way while she pays bills late, uses her credit card to purchase home shopping network items daily or gives large financial gifts to relatives. I've had a client, a wonderful retired Judge who was 93, insist he hadn't paid SDG&E when in fact; he'd paid the same power bill numerous times. His daughter didn't want to interfere with his "independence". We recommend re-loadable debit cards to all of our home care clients, the kind that give daily or weekly spending alerts that can be monitored by a trusted designee. Our agency offers a card to our clients, and for non-clients, I recommend the Truelink Card. I'm always surprised that those who need it most turn it down because "Dad said no." In one case, Dad was a retired physician not diagnosed with Alzheimer's because his fellow physicians simply didn't want to label him with the disease. He carried multiple credit cards, one with a $60,000 limit. He gave gifts as well. It's very hard for a family member, fiduciary or power of attorney to insist that an elderly person is not making good enough decisions to stay in control of their finances. But taking control away from someone who can't monitor money, bills, bank and credit accounts is a crucial step towards protecting those we love and those we are caring for. If taking over entirely is out of the question – consider negotiating with the elderly person to have a second set of eyes on accounts – someone responsible to assist with review of charge card bills, etc. Have a no gift rule unless certain conditions met, including having all gifts in writing signed by the giver, receiver and a witness or responsible party. We have a policy that any gift over $25 must be approved in advance by the agency – to protect our clients, our caregivers and our reputation. If the elderly person uses credit cards, limit the number of credit cards in the house, there is typically no reason that someone elderly needs three or four credit cards. Fewer cards means less to review. Have petty cash in the house, along with a log to track cash expenses. Make sure receipts are kept and reviewed by someone regularly. Finally, never have a caregiver, housekeeper or neighbor help with paying the bills or help with banking. Hire a bookkeeper or...

During June and July, as in home caregivers logged onto Facebook or Instagram - attorneys used a sponsored ad like this one pictured to lure the potential claimants into exploring their legal options against their employers. The ads ask questions of in home caregivers like, "Are you a home health aide? Are you being paid correctly?" With a simple click of the "Learn More" button, in home caregivers are connecting with attorneys who are aggressively going after companies and household employers who are violating California's often tricky wage and hour laws. It's a reminder to always make sure in home caregivers are paid correctly for all hours worked. This is necessary whether you have one employee, or 100 employees, whether you are working with a full service agency such as ours, At Home Nursing Care, or if you are hiring someone directly. Caregivers are not independent contractors in California, meaning all labor rules apply: sick time, pay for sleep time overnight, overtime after 9 hours in a day, 40 hours in a week, proper documentation on pay stubs, and so on. Make sure you are working with an agency that follows the rules to avoid co-employment liability. Not knowing the rules won't save you or your clients in court. And with social media, bad news travels fast. Give us a call if you are concerned about a private hire or "registry" situation. Our agency has signed meal waiver forms if we need in home caregivers to have paid on-duty meals. We make sure our caregivers don't engage in work that eliminates the personal care attendant exemptions that are very important in California’s Wage Order 15. The exemptions allow caregivers to not get regular meals and breaks if certain conditions are met. Some examples of easy ways to run afoul of Wage Order 15 is to have the caregiver clean an entire house or cook meals for the client and guests. Some registries and private employers still believe it’s okay to have a caregiver stay in a house 24 hours a day, and not pay overtime, or to deduct sleep time from pay. All of those practices will give an attorney a reason to write a demand letter or flle a claim. People who are in positions of influence over the caregiver, such as fiduciaries or accountants who cut checks or set schedules – may face a co=employment liability for any wage order violations, another reason to vet the service providers you engage. At Home Nursing Care is a licensed and accredited full –service in home care company which employs all of our in home caregivers. Our founder, Lauren Reynolds, sits on the board for the California Association for Health Services at home and she stays aware of the latest legal developments and compliance issues. We treat our employees as well as we possibly can, not just that's the law, but because it's the...

Making an educated choice about hiring in home care requires knowing the rules, the risks and how to mitigate them. This applies to families and professionals, such as fiduciaries - advisers hired by clients or appointed by the courts to oversee a person's financial, health and living affairs. Fiduciaries have an added potential liability in that they may be considered "co-employers" if they exercise any supervision or direct any of the care being provided in the home. This was the theme of a presentation given by At Home Nursing Care founder Lauren Reynolds and attorney Elizabeth Murphy at the 22nd Annual PFAC (Professional Fiduciary Assocation of California) Conference in San Francisco. It's a conference dedicated to giving fiduciaries the tools to protect seniors and the vulnerable. [caption id="attachment_2568" align="alignleft" width="224"] Attorney Elizbeth Murphy with AHNC Founder Lauren Reynolds[/caption] The Need: The number of people using nursing facilities, alternative residential care places or in home care services is expected to jump from 15 million in 2000 to 27 million in 2050. Among people who reach age 65, more than two-thirds will need long term care in their life time, and an American turning 65 years old today will incur $138,000 in future long term care costs such as in home care. The most common diagnosis for residents of Nursing homes is Alzheimer's/Dementia. The diagnosis most commonly seen for in home care is diabetes. The Rules: Since January 1, 2016, home care providers have required a license under the Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act. There are two licenses that apply - a non-medical home care license issued by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), or a home health agency license issued by the California Department of Public Health. Our agency, At Home Nursing Care, has both licenses. Under the CDSS license, home care aides must be registered, which includes a background check that goes backwards indefinitely, in sharp contrast to the more established practice in California of going back 7 years for a criminal clearance. The requirements also include a TB test and initial and annual training. The unintended consequence of this requirement has been a shortage of qualified caregivers to provide in home care. Many aides cannot pass the background test due to mistakes they made 20 to 30 years ago, such as a DUI or shoplifting as a teenager. So far 7,700 in home care aides have requested "exemptions" from the CDSS rules. Home Care Providers have been requesting that the CDSS change their rules because so many aides have now gone underground, working privately under the table with little protections for seniors. Many previous home care companies are now calling themselves "employment agencies" or "referral services" to get out of having a license at all. Also - the CDSS license does not require that home care providers conduct any supervision of the aides that they place with clients. In contrast, under the CDPH...