Daily agency/registry referral fee for near 5 years now. Should that ever come to an end? - AgingCare.com

Daily agency/registry referral fee for near 5 years now. Should that ever come to an end?

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Hi. We have been using the same registry / agency for our live in aide, who has been with us for near 5 years. We have been paying $20.00 a day since we hired her. The agency does not perform any other service but referred us to our aide in 2010 and reliably provides a fill in when she periodically needs to take off. About twice a year they do a personnel survey by mail. Beyond that we take care of everything else, payroll serivce, workmens comp plan, etc. I have been wondering if this is legally acceptable to continue billing the client indefinitely for this service?? Recently I met with an elder care attorney who without me questioning this issue mentioned that it appears this should not go on indefinitely. She said I should investigate further. I am not sure who I can get an objective answer from. We live in New York state. Mom has many expenses and that 20.00 a day in addition to payroll, has become an expense I would really like to confirm is still legitimate. Anyone in similar situation?

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This doesn't sound right to me at all. Since they have provided backup, they have been of some use, but $20 a day? For five years? The survey is not a "service," it's an imposition.

I've never heard of such a thing. You do most of the admin work. From the information you provided, I'd call this a scam. If you can't find a way to get them to stop billing you, ask the attorney for advice. If he or she can't, then I'd cancel the credit card they are charging to (if that's how you are paying). If they are sending a paper bill, you should have the information to cancel right there. If you still can't cancel, call the Better Business Bureau and ask for help. Good luck! Please keep us posted.
Carol
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This sounds very strange. I guess the registry is just a place where they keep people's names in a file & when someone calls for an aide, they have a name to give. But they are charging daily referral fees, which is very strange. I'd think that they'd charge one referral fee in the beginning when they give you the name of an aide & that's it. Charging a daily referral fee, when you're taking care of payroll, worker's comp, etc. sounds like a scam. Over the course of 5 years, you've paid them $7,300 for referring the aides to you? That sounds ridiculous. I can't see a referral fee being more than a couple hundred dollars, since they're doing nothing else for you.

You must have a contract with them----read it.

I looked this up online, and apparently it is a common thing for registries to charge a daily referral fee, plus a registration fee, to the family for the aide. They must be allowed to get away with it because lots of registries are doing it. That's quite a racket.

Is there a way for you to hire the live-in aide yourself, out of the registry? I bet the aide has some kind of non-compete in their contract & is prohibited from working independently for a client of the registry. If you hired the aide independently, out of the registry, how would the registry even know that the aide is working for you? Perhaps the aide can call the registry & tell them that she wants them to take her name off the registry.
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I too have never heard of something like this. How about employing a "regular" home care agency that will do the same thing this current company is doing BUT much more?

They will supply subs when the regular Caregiver is unavailable, and these staff members should be employees so the agency can pay a portion of their taxes, supervise, train and provide ongoing evaluations to make sure they stay in good standing. I agree with Carol that you should call the BBB and get their take.

If you need home care recommendations, reach out to a neutral/independent Care Manager for help www.caremanager.org or call your local Senior Center.

I know it's hard when you become so close to a primary Caregiver, but see what their contract says about leaving that agency, go to another and resume service with your family. Then you'll be working with a reputable, professional agency that actually works on your behalf.
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Read your contract carefully, there may be a buyout fee to end the contract. Finding replacement caregivers on your own is a real nightmare, keep that in mind. I'm sure the agency is doing background checks as well.
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check with your state's attorney general. They will investigate for you if you give them enough information. You'll probably need to file a complaint with them. My husband has successfully filed a complaint in our state.
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I agree. Contact the registry directly and ask. From the read of it it sounds like Griswald and that is their agreement policy. Read that carefully and ask for a copy if you do not have it still. You can usually buy out of those but read carefully and ask them. They should help.
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An aide also signs a contract with the agency that forbids them to work for any clients for up to four years after leaving an agency, this is usually written in the families contract as well. Should you decide to hire an aid thinking you will not get caught, keep in mind that both the aide and the family can be sued for a certain amount of money for breech of both signed contracts. Although these agencies do a background check on their clients, families can do the same and hire someone under more desirable circumstances. At $20.00 a day for over five years you have paid an agency $36,500.00 for what? I have been self employed now for thirteen years and find it equally as difficult to find employment when these agencies have the corner on the market. Many families believe that these organizations are the only reliable, trustworthy avenues in order to proceed as to ensure the safety of their loved ones. So why do you think that it also states in every contract that the refering company is not liable for anything that gets looted out of your home while you are away?
One recruiter, in the medical field makes a living over and above $100,000.00 a year and this is how they do it, by charging the family these extra daily fees. Imagine having fifty or sixty clients that simply keep paying these dues year after year. The recruiter takes their portion and the company that they work for, keeps the rest.
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I have two thoughts on this matter.....

First, it sounds as though the Registry found you an excellent team that have been in place for 5 years which really says a lot about the company and their commitment to place wonderful people who are professional and committed to you the client.

On the other hand, I think it would be absolutely reasonable for you to contact the Registry and ask the same question that you posed here? I would thank them for all that they have done, but after 5 years.....I think your well within your right to ask that the fee stop or at least drastically reduced as their involvement is very minimal.

Communication with the Registry is critical and will most likely result in a favorable outcome for both parties. You are in a great situation to refer other families to the Registry (or the opposite) based on how they handle your request and I would not be shy about letting them know that.

Hope this helps!!
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The registry probably has a clause in their contract that you are responsible for as long as you use their person. It is quite normal for them to do that. If you hire the home health aid away from the registry, you probably have to pay the registry a fee. I bet it's all in the contract. As long as she is working for you and you are paying the taxes etc. It might be worth it to pay the fee and terminate the agency. I would have the attorney look at the contract. Most of these are binding for as long as you use their services and you have been using them for 5 years so it's expensive, but I doubt it is illegal or even unethical.
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Thank you all, I am definitely going to investigate further. It happens that our aide will likely be leaving this year to move out of state, but it is not 100% sure . I feel that at this 5 year point it is worth looking into and getting some solid answers. If she does move and we hire someone else, I will be on top of the matter and more knowledgable the 2nd time around. I asked the aide and she told me that she too paid a fee to them to register with them, but is was one $150.00 fee and that was it. We were given a simple contract which I need to locate and read over but I recall the contract made it clear there would be penalties if we hired her privately and also a penalty for her if she bypassed them. I was referred to this agency but someone I met briefly so I will see if I can locate their phone number.
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