To SeniorChecked’s Tweet


Chris Spanos, the CEO of SeniorChecked sent me a message, via Twitter:

@SupportForHome seniors r victims 2 $2.5B in fraud/year across a range of home service categories. that’s problem @seniorchecked is fighting

That kind of discussion is not something you can really have, 140 characters at a time, so I am inviting Chris, and anyone else who would like to participate, to comment.  I promise I will respond and be delighted to participate in a real dialogue.  I will even promise to admit being wrong, if Chris convinces me of that.

Now, what we both agree on – and many of you do, as well – is that seniors are the target of many scams and fraudulent schemes.  That sucks.  Whatever can be done to prevent that is great.

What we disagree about is that any Internet company that

  • does not spend five minutes with us face-to-face, does not audit our invoices, payroll or accounting,
  • at best duplicates the state and local and federal and sex offender and driving records background checks performed for us by a national firm,
  • does not perform behavioral interviewing or personality testing of our employees – which we do,
  • does not perform the many other quality control checks that we do to ensure the highest level of quality and integrity in our care,
  • does not sit down with our clients and spend several hours determining what a comprehensive plan of care should look like, and then take not one penny from the client or any other service providers that might end up helping the client,

can “help reduce the risk and incidence of fraud against Seniors by connecting them to trusted local businesses.” 

This is not about the motives of Chris or his team or a number of other companies that claim to offer Consumer Reports-level value for services to seniors.  It is about their ability to do so.

When SeniorChecked or any other Internet company can demonstrate the hands-on, personal passion and depth of engagement that we at Support For Home or Lisa Marie Blaskie at her ComForcare agencies in San Francisco and Riverside County or Robin Donnelly at Visiting Angels in Ohio or Barry Berger at Accredited, in Southern California demonstrate, fantastic.  We might even pay the fees they want.  🙂

So, Chris, that is the challenge for you.  I look forward to the dialogue.

Best wishes, Bert

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5 responses to “To SeniorChecked’s Tweet

  1. Pingback: Elders In Action! | Support For Home In-Home Care

  2. Bert,

    Thanks for the opportunity to reply and sincere apologies for the delay as response to SeniorChecked since our launch has been pretty amazing and greater than we expected; including extremely positive feedback from consumers, businesses, law enforcement, government agencies, non-profits and associations of all types.

    I’m glad that we agree that fraud against Seniors is a real and serious problem. You would be surprised at how many people, even in the Senior services space, do not think there is a problem at all. If they saw the daily flow of tragic stories from around the country and had the conversations we did with families and law enforcement agencies perhaps they’d change their minds.

    With the coming Senior boom starting in 2011, with aging in place becoming the new reality and adult children/family caregivers living great distances away from their parents, we see conditions for the $2.6 billion in fraud against Seniors to become an exponentially larger problem.

    The reality is that successful aging in place means more than home health or elder care…it means caring for the home Seniors live in…which means service providers of all types and categories coming in and out of the house. Given that 56% of the fraud against Seniors is committed by unscrupulous service providers, we believe that by creating a network of verified service providers across a wide range of categories we can help reduce the risk and incidence of these crimes for Seniors and their families.

    SeniorChecked’s background checks are far more extensive than checks required by many states. As an example, there are a shocking number of states that do not require any checks for non-medical homecare companies. Even more shocking, many of the states that do require checks only conduct intrastate checks and do not conduct a truly deep nationwide screening. Our checks go wide and deep in a best effort to ensure that a criminal does not enter the home and life of a senior.

    We do not believe that there is a single, silver bullet solution to prevent and eliminate the tragic issue of fraud against Seniors. We also do not believe that there is a single source or method that consumers use to find and connect with service providers. Our deep experience in the field of online search tells us that consumers search for and connect with businesses in an infinite number of ways. Anyone who claims otherwise is misguided. SeniorChecked is just one way but one that we think can be very helpful to a great many people and businesses.

    My direct experience in helping my family find service providers of types for my late mother-in-law as she slowly succumbed to Alzheimer’s strongly drives my motivation for creating SeniorChecked. I wish SeniorChecked had been around during that time as it would have been extremely useful during our search and decision making process which was often done thousands of miles away from where she and my father-in-law lived.

    All the best,

    Chris

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  3. Thanks for the comment, Chris. You are right, we do not disagree on the problem. We do disagree on the level of inspection necessary – local, hands-on inspection – to minimize that problem. I would much rather see more Elders In Action operations, with their core of volunteers, acting as a not-for-profit watch dog, than commercial operations that cannot really “touch” the businesses across the nation to determine their integrity. Best of luck. Bert

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  4. Bert,

    We agree with and support the efforts of a wide range of organizations of different types to take on this challenge. As I wrote, we know there is no single solution or organization that can 100% prevent, solve or cover the problem of fraud committed against Seniors. Anyone who claims otherwise, we think, is seriously mistaken and does not fully appreciate the enormity of the current problem much less the coming one as the Senior population doubles over the next twenty years. It will take effective partnerships between business, non-profits and government to create the most effective layer of protection possible.

    We believe strongly that there is a local, hands on, community dimension to this challenge. To that end we will be announcing a number of partnerships where SeniorChecked is providing the background verification services for locally based organizations that connect Seniors with service providers. Additionally, SeniorChecked will be hiring Community Representatives in local communities all across the country to serve as a direct connection between seniors, their families, community organizations and local service providers.

    As for commercial vs. non-profit, I think what matters most is that there is an increasing number of people and organizations out there working to provide solutions to the problem. As someone who has faced the challenge of choosing service providers for a remote family member who was aging in place and will most likely face it again in the future, I want a choice of effective resources and solutions to turn to regardless of what business structure they choose to operate as.

    All the best,

    Chris

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  5. I like your answer, Chris.
    You are absolutely correct that no agency / company / enterprise can prevent 100% of the problems.
    The idea of hiring Community Reps in the areas you want to serve is a very good one.
    You may have seen my blog, some time back, about the BBB, which I consider to be a joke. I would be delighted to be able to say, as you grow, that you are really doing what they claim.
    Keep me posted.
    Will you be attending the NPDA conference in March, in Las Vegas? It is a great forum to get to know agencies and exchange ideas on how we can all make things better. The theme of the conference is, “Take the Gamble out of Home Care.” We want to do that for our clients and families.
    Thanks. Bert

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