Claimwire Spotlight: HomeCareConnect
Home healthcare services for workers' comp
I recently had the privilege of speaking to Vonesa Wenzel, one of the founders of HomeCareConnect, a home health care service provider to the workers' comp industry. I was very interested in the story of how and why they started their business. It's obvious from speaking to Vonesa that HomeCareConnect is founded on very solid principles and a great work ethic. I think you'll enjoy reading this Claimwire Spotlight.
Claimwire: When was HomeCare Connect founded, and who were your Founders?
HomeCare Connect was founded in 2010 by Vonesa Wenzel, Teresa Williams, and Cindy Hailey. All 3 founders have been involved in several startups in workers’ compensation during the past 20 years.
Claimwire: Can you give us a brief history of HomeCare Connect? Why was HomeCare Connect created in the first place?
HomeCare Connect was created to address a need in the workers’ compensation for a company that has a singularly focused suite of services surrounding home health care – including home health nursing, medical supplies and equipment, and home modifications.
During the past six years, the industry has seen numerous consolidations and acquisitions, wrapping home health up with other services. Instead of providing promised one-stop-shop convenience, many of these companies have lost their focus and customer service has suffered. Payers have become frustrated.
We studied the market and listened to payers and built a company based on what prospects wanted and needed: clinically driven care, fast turnaround times and outstanding customer and patient service.
Our laser focus on home health is not diluted by also trying to offer translations and transportation services, pharmacy benefits, physical therapy, or and other ancillary services. Everything we do relates to home health and workers’ compensation.
Frequently, workers’ compensation patients are released from hospitals and rehab facilities with very little notice, and they need in-home nursing care, hospital beds, wheelchairs and other equipment – fast. There’s a lot of variety in equipment and services and it’s important to have a clinician oversee home health to ensure that patients receive the right items at the right time--services that will facilitate their recovery.
Some companies outsource their referral and customer service centers, and payers become frustrated by language barriers and a lack of industry understanding. Our U.S.-based referral intake call center is open 24/7 and staffed by our own employees, many of whom are bilingual. Clinical care coordinators – usually RNs with several years experience in workers’ compensation -- oversee cases.
Speed – of intake and reporting – is critical in home health care. Or it should be. We pride ourselves on responding to referrals within two hours. That’s a two-hour confirmation, compared to the two-to-seven days that many payers have to wait. We get injured employees into the right hands right away and quickly provide claims managers the data they need to guide treatment and set reserves. On-going reports are also delivered much faster than industry average – so that claims managers and physicians can make informed decisions and progress treatment. We even developed an app that allows home health nurses file reports without having to return to their office computers; some do it on their phones before leaving the patient’s home.
Home Modifications - Recognizing that not all contractors can modify for mobility, we have a credentialed network of ADA-certified contractors who understand the needs of injured workers as well as the needs for adjusters to have a detailed quote that enable them to set reserves, so contractor estimates explain how modifications will address functional status, medical condition an accessibility barriers. Like all of our services, home modifications are clinically driven.
Claimwire: Who are the current leaders of HomeCare Connect? Please tell us their names, current positions, and a brief background.
Teresa Williams, CEO (background clinical social worker, hospital administrator, 10 years in workers’ compensation industry)
Vonesa Wenzel, CMO (background 25 years in workers’ compensation with a focus on medical ancillary services)
Cindy Hailey, Senior Vice President Sales (background 15 years in the workers’ compensation industry)
Gail Kasmir, CFO (background, CPA, certified forensic accountant with 10 years’ experience in the workers’ compensation industry)
Tim Rametta, CTO (background 15 plus years in information technology and the workers compensation industry)
Claimwire: How many customers/clients do you have? Are you growing?
HomeCare Connect has over 100 clients, and has experienced double digit growth over the past 5 years.
Claimwire: Related to the last question, who are your targets? What types of organizations do you service?
HomeCare Connect targets: employers, Third Party Administrators, and carriers specifically in the workers compensation industry.
Claimwire: Is HomeCare Connect limited to a particular region, or country? Is it based in the U.S.? Do your efforts have an international reach?
HomeCare Connect is a national organization based in the United States with over 17,000 contracted providers in its proprietary network.
Claimwire: What is your official Mission Statement, or similar statement?
HomeCare Connect is dedicated to providing quality care and services to injured workers while containing cost for our clients.
Claimwire: What are the main features/benefits HomeCare Connect has made your products or services in the past year? In 2015/16 HomeCare Connect expanded services to include orthotics and prosthetics to ensure that amputees adjust and recover as quickly as possible. As most amputees need some type of home health care, this was a logical extension of our services. We have a network of providers and also provide specialized bill review for prosthetic/orthotic services to ensure that injured employees receive the right prosthetic and care at the right time and that payers are billed fairly and accurately.
Claimwire: What features/benefits do you plan to add in the next 12 months?
We are exploring several new opportunities within the industry including data analysis around industry injury codes, and tele-medicine.
Claimwire: What is the highest priority thing you are working on right now?
Continued systems integration with our clients that allows for better transfer of information and data in a more timely fashion.
Claimwire: What sources do you primarily use to “spread the word,” or to get your message out?
We have a full-service sales staff dedicated regional and nationally to our clients. We attend and participate in hundreds of claims associations, trade organizations, and conferences throughout the year. We also have an active public relations program, a client newsletter, and we advertise in some industry publications.
Claimwire: If our readers are interested in learning more about HomeCare Connect, who should they contact?
Contact Vonesa Wenzel, (407)443-2590; firstname.lastname@example.org
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