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I’m being asked to pay $160 for a 90-120 minute in home assessment so they have the info to tell me IF they can meet my needs with a comparable home care provider. Of course they are saying they can meet my needs and provide someone, but that remains to be seen until we make that determination from the candidates they present. Should I pay this? Is this customary?

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Hmm. When I interviewed a care agency for Mom an RN and a social worker came to her NH and spent over an hour with us. When they found a suitable aid the RN brought her for a meet and greet which lasted about another hour. I was never charged for any of this time. However they did ask me for 2 weeks of charges up front which would be reimbursed after Mom passed away or their services were otherwise not needed. They said that they sometimes have a hard time collecting their last bills from the remaining family after a LO passes so they collect a little money in advance just in case. And they did reimburse me with no problem. Perhaps that’s what your $160 is for, not the assessment. You may want to clarify if it’s reimbursable. .
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Reply to rocketjcat
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Isnt Medicare going to cover this?
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Reply to anonymous123913
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I think that the doctor actually does a needs assessment and then you hire an agency that can provide the aide that the doctor says is needed.

I don't pay anyone to meet with me and see if I want to hire them, it's like a job interview. You are interviewing them to see if they meet your needs and are willing to fulfill your expectations. Can you imagine telling a prospective employer that they will need to pay you for the interview? Weird.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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NO!    In my area, there's so much competition that a good company wouldn't dare pull that.

The best company that I wanted (which I couldn't hire b/c after discussion internally they decided they couldn't and wouldn't handle dysphagia care) came to a care meeting at the rehab facility, free of charge.  

Your words "so they have the info to tell me IF they can meet my needs with a comparable home care provider" make me wonder if this is a company that screens and then contacts other companies?    Or if it just collects screening fees and then says it can't meet your requirements?  

There's a remote possibility that it's a legit and highly qualified company and wants to ensure it can in fact meet your needs, but I've found after contacting a lot of companies that they're usually able to make those determinations even before coming out.  If not, I wonder how much experience they have. 

Are you in a rural area?   I can't help wondering if this is a legit agency or one that just wants to scan your house and see what's available.      Do you have any background info or research on the agency?

I think this is a bad omen; back away, quickly.


Just remembered: the only company, actually a well known agency, that pulled something like this sent out a so-called RN who didn't even know what a psychotropic drug was, decided the living room needed about $50K worth of repairs, for which she felt their in-house estimator/contractor would be appropriate.

I had already interviewed him for work at my house; his estimate was 3 times the estimate of the good contractor I hired.   And he insisted that more needed to be done than I wanted.  (I'd had this done repeatedly and knew well what the work scope was.)
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Isthisrealyreal Sep 9, 2019
Good point about just collecting assessment fees and never providing services.
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My knee-jerk response is "NO! Outrageous!"

Unless - is there anything very unusual about your home or your circumstances? Would they have to send a suitably qualified assessor to some remote location or anything like that?

If they're planning to spend an hour and a half to two hours conducting the assessment, it sounds as if it will be quite thorough (and tiring for you - make sure the appointment is at a time of day when you're at your liveliest) which is no bad thing. But then again, I would expect any reputable agency to do this essential preparation thoroughly and to send you somebody with adequate qualifications and experience, and I would not expect there to be an upfront charge.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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I don't know if it is customary, but I sure wouldn't be paying it, IMO you should be able to go over your needs with a simple phone call. Have you contacted more than one agency?
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Reply to cwillie
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