DecisionHealth caught up with Bob Roth, managing partner of Cypress HomeCare Solutions in Phoenix, Ariz. after the agency joined forces with Honor Care Network. Below is a Q&A with Roth on the latest evolution of his business.
Q: What led to the decision for Cypress HomeCare Solutions to join the Honor Care Network?
A: Because of our reputation, I’ve been approached many times to sell our home care agency, but I was never interested because I didn’t feel those opportunities furthered our mission and that is to serve older adults where they want to be — in their own home. By joining the Honor Care Network, I feel as if I am doubling down on home care. I want to take the success that we have enjoyed here in the Phoenix metropolitan area and make a larger impact at the national level. I’ve always had the ambition to expand my business, and bring high-quality care to more people, but the past few years I had hit a plateau because of the serious shortage of professional caregivers. More than once I’ve had to say no to an important referral partner because I could not staff the opportunity they were presenting to me. My biggest fear is I’ll stop getting that first referral call.
When I learned more about the Honor Care Network, I realized that they excelled at high-quality workforce management at scale. I decided that I could either compete with them for great talent, or I could join them and grow my agency and make a bigger and faster impact than I could ever do alone. I love being part of a network of high-quality partner agencies, where we can all share the best of what we’ve all learned over the years in providing great care. By coming together, we can assist more people with the opportunity to stay at home and live their lives to the fullest.
Q: What is involved in being a part of the Honor Care Network? What is the basic division or coverage of services and business operations — in other words, who does what? (i.e. marketing, sales, recruiting, hiring, payroll, providing care, billing, etc.)
A: Cypress remains an independently owned business with Honor managing our back-office operations—time-consuming administrative tasks such as billing, compliance, payroll, as well as professional caregiver recruiting, training, and scheduling. As a member of the Honor Care Network, we also gain access to a shared pool of professional caregivers which allows us to maintain a steady workforce to meet growing demand for home care.
By being a part of the Honor Care Network, I am now able to focus on what I love doing most—being a resource to our existing clients and their families in navigating to the right resources in their loved ones’ journey, and going out into our local community to help more clients and their families. I’m very active in the community through my own radio show and newspaper columns, the boards I serve on, and the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging that I was selected to serve on by Arizona Governor, Doug Ducey. I feel it’s important to share knowledge with the broader community so that we can collectively take better care of our rapidly aging population.
Q: What do you see as the biggest benefits of joining the Honor Care Network?
A: Joining the Honor Care Network gives us the opportunity to spend more time with our clients and families. Whether we’re helping a client with their individual life journey or helping a family with their loved one who needs care, we take great care in connecting them to the resources that will assist them in making their home the center of care. In addition, we now have more time to get closer to our current referral partners and new referral sources so they have a better understanding of the services that we provide. Lastly, as an agency owner I get to have more of a work-life balance. I have plans to spend more time traveling with my wife Susie and I now have the peace of mind that I can make these trips while still providing a high quality care management and client experience without worrying so much about the day-to-day administrative and scheduling tasks associated with running a home care agency.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenges of this partnership?
A: I think the biggest challenge is being able to let go of the day-to-day operations. After operating our home care agency for the past 25 years we had to be able to trust that the people on the Honor Care Network team working with my Cypress team will be as mindful, diligent and caring as we are. But so far, our experience has been great and we work very closely with the Honor team to ensure that we continue to deliver outstanding care for our clients.
Q: When did Cypress join the Honor Care Network?
A: We announced we were joining the Honor Care Network in early April 2019 and successfully completed the transition to the new model at the end of June. My discussions about joining the Honor Care Network began in July 2018. It was a very thoughtful process that we went through—before saying yes we needed to make sure that we were able to anticipate the challenges that a new working relationship might bring, and be able to overcome these challenges and maintain the quality that Cypress HomeCare Solutions has come to be known for over the past 25 years.
Q: How have clients and staff responded to the transition?
A: Change can sometimes be uncomfortable because we all get used to operating in our own way. While I knew this was a great decision for Cypress, I wasn’t exactly sure how everyone would react to the news. But to my pleasant surprise, our clients, caregivers, and staff received the news about our decision to join the Honor Care Network quite well.
We spoke to every client/client family member/person directing the care needs of the client nearly three months before the transition. After explaining why Cypress would be making this change, and then describing how the caregivers would benefit from this change too, overall our clients felt good about this decision.
We notified the caregivers before we notified the clients. We wanted to make sure they heard our news about joining the Honor Care Network from us and not our clients. When they learned that they were going to make the same wages if not better and have better benefits, that alone was impressive. What surprised the caregivers, as much as it did for our clients and the agency staff, was the people that worked for Honor. Each Honor employee was equally impressive, they are all highly educated, intelligent, with varied experience and each one of them has bought in to the overall mission of taking better care of the elderly. Several of our caregivers that went through the new employee orientation came to my office to tell me how much they appreciated our decision and totally saw how it benefited them.
Lastly, our home care agency staff completely understood and supported our move to the Honor Care Network. Their support affirmed that this was the right move, at the right time.
Q: How does this work financially? Is there a revenue share? Is there a contract relationship involving payment for services? How does that break down? (If you can tell me this)
A: It’s a revenue split where Honor takes on the majority of the expenses and both entities win as the partner grows their business. When an agency joins the Honor Care Network, the agency owner spends less time managing the back office and is able to spend more time on growing their agency and providing high level client and care management. After a year in the Honor Care Network, the average agency grows their revenues by 40 percent.
Q: What makes Cypress HomeCare Solutions a good fit for the Honor Care Network? For other agencies who may be considering their own partnership, what do they need to be successful?
A: Having just celebrated our 25th Anniversary, we were seeing the demand for caregivers already outstripping the current supply and that alone had us really concerned. We saw the value of joining the Honor Care Network as being able to put Cypress in a position to maintain our high-quality caregiver base and at the same time affords us the opportunity to continue our premier standing in Arizona. Other agencies really should examine whether or not they can keep up with the ever-increasing demand for caregivers, and if they are challenged today, they should be looking at all of the options available to them. One of those options they should be considering is the Honor Care Network. The Honor Care Network may not be for everyone, but it should be an option that agency owners should be considering.
Q: How many home care agencies operate through the Honor Care Network? In what geographical areas? Can you share any data or results regarding turnover or revenue?
A: Honor Technology operates its own home care agency called Honor Home Care, which has become the largest home care agency in the San Francisco Bay Area in less than two years.
Honor has signed up Honor Care Network partners in four states— California, New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. It’s exciting to see so many high caliber home care agencies continue to join the Honor Care Network and I expect we’ll soon see the Honor Care Network expand into additional states before the end of the year.