Frequently Asked Questions
ApexCare has been in operation since 1992 and has served thousands of individuals and families throughout Northern California.
The Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act (AB 1217) was implemented on January 1, 2016 to provide consumer protection for older adults and disabled individuals. This new law requires all Home Care Organizations to be licensed by the Department of Social Services. The new law also created the Home Care Services Bureau (HCSB) to evaluate, approve, and monitor all home care organizations.
In addition, the new law required that all caregivers be registered on the Home Care Registry. To become registered, all caregivers must undergo a detailed criminal background check through the California DOJ. If the caregiver has any previous criminal record, the caregiver must undergo a detailed criminal exemption process to ensure that the individual is qualified to work with older adults.
We have a very short turnaround time to schedule caregivers for new clients. In many cases, we are able to assign a caregiver on the same or next day following the assessment. Of course, we will do whatever it takes to find the best caregiver as soon as possible to provide the family with peace of mind.
You have already taken the first step by researching our available services! For more information on how to get started, Click Here to go to our Getting Started guide.
Our office staff is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for any support a client, family member, or caregiver may need. Our professional office staff is available in our offices on Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm. During the evenings and weekends, two of our staff members are on-call and available to answer the phone at any time and to deal with any unexpected issues that may arise.
Many agencies use an answering service or a lower level staff person to answer phone calls on nights and weekends. These lower-level employees or third party answering services are unfamiliar with clients and caregivers and are unable to effectively respond to issues that arise after business hours.
At ApexCare, two of our full-time professional staff members are on-call and available to respond to and act upon the various issues that may arise after normal business hours. Because we have caregivers working with clients 24x7, we believe that we need to be able to support our clients and caregivers 24x7.
There are many reasons why you should work with an Agency as opposed to hiring a private caregiver. The primary reason for working with an Agency vs. hiring a private caregiver is to prevent you from becoming an employer and being subject to all of the legal requirements of being an employer and following all of the applicable requirements for being an employer, including compliance with Wage Order 15.
As an employer, you will be responsible for paying payroll taxes including Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment Insurance. You will also be required to file quarterly and annual payroll tax returns for the State of California and the Internal Revenue Service. Lastly, by law, you will be required to provide your private caregiver with Workers Compensation insurance.
If you do not pay payroll taxes, file payroll tax returns, or provide workers compensation insurance to your private caregiver, you are at risk of audit and penalties by the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service. In addition, if your private caregiver is injured in your home, you are subject to significant legal liability and medical costs for your private caregiver.
By working with an Agency instead of hiring a private caregiver, you are not considered the caregiver's employer and are not subject to the applicable employment laws and requirements. Also, by working with an Agency, you will be supported by a team of experienced professionals who understand all of the requirements for providing exceptional in-home care. When a caregiver is ill or unable to work, an Agency such as ApexCare will be able to provide back-up caregivers to ensure the continuity of care for you or your loved ones.
We provide non-clinical in-home care services to our clients. These services cover a broad range of services, but revolve primarily around helping clients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). Typical ADL’s include homemaker services, personal care, transportation and, as needed, memory care for clients with dementia. Please Click Here to see a more detailed list of our services.
We also offer a number of Specialty Programs that are of no additional cost. Our Specialty Programs include Music & Memory for dementia clients, Conscious Touch, Fit-Band, and Beremembered. We encourage you to Click Here to learn more about our Specialty Programs.
We are able to offer as few as 1 hour and up to 24 hours of service. In order to ensure that we have the best caregivers available for your shifts, however, we do bill our clients and pay our caregivers a minimum of 3 hours if the desired shifts are less than 3 hours. In other words, the minimum cost of a shift is for 3 hours, but there is no need to keep our caregiver for the full three hours.
Yes! We have many clients who utilize our services on a temporary basis or for respite care. We understand that being a family caregiver can be a difficult and exhausting responsibility. We provide respite care to many family caregivers so that they may have a few hours every week for themselves.
We strive for consistency with our caregivers and clients. If a client has an ongoing and regular schedule, then we are typically able to schedule the same caregivers for those shifts. If the schedule not a regular ongoing schedule, it is more difficult for us to guarantee the same caregiver for all of the shifts, but we will always do our best to keep the caregiver consistent. Of course, things do happen such as caregivers who become sick or who are out on vacation, but that is when our office staff is fully responsible for selecting a backup caregiver and informing the family of the changes in caregivers.
Being able to provide skilled and appropriate replacement caregivers is truly one of the major reasons that clients choose to work with an agency as opposed to a referral agency or private caregiver. Our caregivers can call in 30 minutes before a shift starts to report that they are ill or have an emergency that prevents them from going to their shift. When this happens, ApexCare is responsible for ensuring that the shift is covered by an equally skilled employee. We pride ourselves on our ability to provide that coverage efficiently and without putting any additional stress on our clients or their families.
We are a non-clinical and non-medical service provider. As a result, we are not allowed to provide any clinical or invasive services such as insulin injections, cut nails (we can file nails), give enemas, or any other services that would break the skin or enter the body. We can assist with medications as long as they are pre-dosed and prepared by a medical professional or a family member in a pill box or labeled pill cups.
Quality assurance (QA) is extremely important to us. Currently, our entire office staff is responsible for performing regular QA visits with our clients. These QA visits are scheduled according to priority need or at the invitation of the client and family.
We are also part of an independent third-party review service called Home Care Pulse. Home Care Pulse interviews 10% of our clients and caregivers each month at random to inquire and verify that we are providing the highest levels of quality care to our clients.
ApexCare is proud to have been awarded the Best of Home Care Provider of Choice award for 2016 and 2017. This means that our company was among the highest rated in-home care agencies in the Sacramento region.
Our practice of matching caregivers and clients does not enable our clients to meet with potential caregivers prior to their first shifts. There are a few practical reasons for this.
Firstly, matching clients and caregivers is a very dynamic process that is constantly moving and changing. By the time we are able to schedule interviews or meetings between clients and caregivers, our caregivers' existing schedules may change and they may be unavailable to work with the clients that they met with.
Secondly, it is the legal responsibility of the employer to make work assignments. Home care agencies who do send out Home Care Aides to be interviewed are violating that responsibility, which may cause the State to consider the family as at least a co-employer, which is a dangerous situation for the family.
Our philosophy is that every shift performed by ApexCare’s caregivers is an interview. Our clients are able to request any change of any caregiver with 24 hours’ notice and we will do everything we can to accommodate this request. Having hired and managed employees for decades, we know that there is no guarantee that a client interview will produce a perfect decision, or that we will have the perfect match on the first try.
The answer depends upon the type of care provided. If personal care is needed, such as bathing, incontinence care or other services that involve a degree of privacy on the part of the client, specifying the gender of the Home Care Aide is appropriate. If no personal care is involved, the law does not permit the client – or the employer – to specify the gender of the caregiver. Agencies that do permit choice in these circumstances are violating the law.
Yes! We have very strong relationships with our local Senior Living facilities who are happy to work with us to provide additional as-needed one-on-one support in these settings. At the hospital, we can be the client’s advocate to make sure they receive all the day-to-day care that is needed when the family is unable to be present. Also, because most of our Home Care Aides are Certified Nurse Assistants, and because they all have that level of skills and experience, facilities do turn to us for staffing services.
Because of our philosophy that every shift is an interview, our cancellation policy is very simple. Our services can be terminated simply with 24 hours notice; no questions asked. Any deposit is applied to the final bill and any balance is refunded.
COSTS, BILLING, & INSURANCE
To get started, we typically collect a deposit that is equal to the cost of two weeks of service based on the schedule that is provided to us. When services are ending, the deposit will be applied to the final invoice with any balance being refunded back to the client by a check.
Our invoices are generated on the 1st and 16th of each month for the prior ½ month’s services. Each invoice will include the days of service and the amount of time provided for each day of service. Our system allows invoices to be paid by check or online with credit cards or ACH debits. We can also set up an automatic charge that occurs following each invoicing period.
Home care is often referred to as a “private duty” or “private pay” service. This is because medical insurance companies such as Medicare do not typically cover this vital area of care. Depending on specific circumstances, Medi-Cal may cover some long-term care costs, but the agency must be approved to accept Medi-Cal payments. ApexCare does not currently accept payments from Medi-Cal.
The one type of private insurance that may pay for this type of care is called Long-Term Care Insurance. This is typically an optional type of coverage that individuals can elect to purchase. If a client elected to purchase Long-Term Care Insurance, they will typically have a benefit amount that they are entitled to when the conditions for the coverage are triggered.
Others are eligible for the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance program. We encourage families to explore both options.
Yes! We can help ensure that your long-term care insurance is active and properly setup to start payments for you or your loved ones’ care. We have a long history of working with a variety of long-term care insurance providers including CalPERs, Penn Treaty, Genworth, and Bankers Life. Once your long-term care insurance is setup, we will take care of sending over the required ADL or Personal Care logs and invoices. If you would like the LTCI to pay us directly we can help you set up an Assignment of Benefits to make this happen.
We do not charge any extra fees for weekend or evening care as there is no justification for higher cost. We do, however, charge 1.5x the regular rate on seven (7) specific holidays each year including New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We also pay our caregivers 1.5x the normal rate during these holiday shifts.
The reason that we charge this premium for holidays is to ensure that we are able to provide our clients with the continuity of care that they need. Our caregivers also have families that they often spend time with during these holidays and we want to reward and incentivize our employees to be available on these special days. Prior to each of these official holidays, we proactively reach out to all of our clients to see if they would still like services on that day.
Because of our philosophy that every shift is an interview, our cancellation policy is very simple. Our services can be terminated with 24 hours' notice - no questions asked. Any deposit is applied to the final bill and any balance is refunded.
ApexCare is the employer. We are responsible for hiring, managing and, if necessary, replacing the Home Care Aide. We ensure that extensive background checks, testing and interviews are performed; that all payroll functions are performed; that all insurance coverage is in place. Our client and family have enough to focus on already. Worrying about payroll taxes and unemployment claims and Workers Compensation and liability insurance should not be added to their burden.
As of July, 2016, all home care agencies or organizations are required to have a $10,000 bond. In addition, all of our employees are covered by our liability insurance, Workers Compensation insurance and their own personal auto insurance, as well as the corporate non-owned auto policy.
Screening applicants is one of the most important functions of a legitimate in-home care agency. For ApexCare, the process involves the following:
- Potential applicants are phone-screened by our Recruiting Manager to determine whether the applicant has the minimum level of skills and experience for ApexCare.
- The applicant goes through an initial face-to-face interview with our Home Care Aide Manager to review the applicant's application, work history, and skills, and experience.
- The applicant goes through a second interview with one or more of ApexCare's Care Coordinators, who have extensive experience as caregivers, themselves.
- If all members of our team approve of the applicant, the applicant is given a conditional offer of employment, contingent upon the following:
- Drug test taken in our office and successfully passed;
- Successful reference checks;
- Successful background checks; and
- Successful completion of paid Apex Care orientation training.
- Even after screening and hiring, our philosophy is that every shift is an interview. Home Care Aides who are not consistently successful will receive coaching, training or, as appropriate, termination.
Successfully identifying and hiring great caregivers is a complex process that requires knowledge and experience. There are many factors we look for in deciding whether to hire an applicant:
- Experience and expertise
- A great heart
- A commitment to excellence
- An ability to cook!
- Common sense
- Ability to take constructive criticism and improve themselves