Although many families try to do the best they can to plan for long-term care for their senior parents, life often gets in the way and things don’t always happen according to plan. Illnesses, falls, strokes, and other accidents happen that cause families to urgently look for a nursing home or long-term care facility without any time to properly research which facility would be best for their family. In their dire situation, they consider referral services to help hurry them into a facility to care for their loved one. Unfortunately, the multimillion-dollar industry of referral agencies is unregulated and can lead to a bad situation for everyone involved – the family, the senior, and the Assisted Living Facility.
At first it seems like a great idea. After all, there’s only so much advertising Assisted Living Facilities and Homecare Agencies can do to get families interested in putting their beloved senior family members into any given facility. Using a referral agency is a surefire way to get customers into your facility. But, as with anything that seems too good to be true, there’s a catch. Namely, referral agencies are steadily getting a bad rap for their practices.
One of the nation’s most popular Referral Companies is one you’ve heard of before called A Place for Mom. Every month this company fields requests from more than 50,000 families and refers them to over 18,000 facilities and agencies. Needless to say, they do very well. Yet, it’s not all that it appears to be. Every Assisted Living Facility that A Place for Mom works with has signed a contract agreeing to pay up to one month rent when a lead becomes a customer. On average, this comes out to about $3,500. Of course, this payout is due even before the facility knows for sure whether the customer will stay in the facility. For example, a senior may stay for a month and decide the facility isn’t for them, or worse, the senior could get sick and pass on after a month. In both cases, the facility would be left earning no profit from that customer and be out a substantial amount of money. Similarly, any Homecare Agency working with referral companies have to pay a flat rate that is actually a higher fee than subscribing to the site for a year! Regardless, A Place for Mom keeps their services going and has a network across the county with over 430 advisors working the phones making it all happen. As an owner of an Assisted Living Facility or Homecare Agency, you may decide the risk of a month’s rent is worth it. So, is it still a bad idea for Assisted Living facilities and Home Care agencies to use referral agencies? YES! In fact, beyond costly fees associated with referral agencies, there is a lot of scamming in the industry as well. Some agencies move the same resident from facility to facility just to collect fees. Not fair for the business and certainly not fair for the elderly resident! All of these shady practices have drawn criticisms and raised questions that have caused for investigation. In 2010, the state of Washington passed regulatory legislation after the Seattle Times discovered some placement companies in Washington state had referred seniors to facilities with documented histories of substandard care. This news was astonishing and heartbreaking as instances such as dementia patients were locked in their rooms and mentally ill patients were drugged into submission to control their behavior. Some seniors were ignored for up to 16 hours.
Assisted Living Facility Owners and Homecare Agencies should absolutely not use referral agencies. Instead, they should use SSMAPS.com for all their advertising needs and let us do the advertising for them. We are a trusted, reliable source that lets the clients or social workers reach out to the facilities directly – without any middleman. Best of all, we are only $24.95 per month which would take over 11 years to pay if you paid the same amount as 1 average referral with an agency. Additionally, Assisted Living Facilities and Homecare Agencies that advertise with us get their own webpage. Even before you make a payment you can see that we are significantly worth it because you get so much more with us.
Reach your prospective patients and their families faster during one of the most helpless times in their lives. Use SSMAPS.com and everyone from patients and families to you and your business will benefit.