Every day for the next 29 years, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65. (Pew Social Trends, 2010) It’s important that we as a society come together to prepare for the challenge of meeting this critical need.

We recently returned from Las Vegas and the Decision Health Private Duty National Conference. We’ve attended the conference for over a decade and…

  • a) have been fortunate to have witnessed firsthand how the conversation around private pay and private duty homecare has evolved and, therefore,
  • b) we recognize positive energy around those topics when it hits us

That is to say, there was a palpable buzz at the conference as homecare industry professionals, agency owners and vendors excitedly discussed the latest legislative victories, technological trends and research impacting the private duty homecare industry.

So, what are the takeaways?

It will likely come as no surprise to veterans in the Industry that homecare is increasingly becoming the most popular choice among seniors and persons experiencing disabilities. It is safe to say that private duty homecare is on the rise and growth won’t likely slow in our lifetimes.

90% of people are now opting to age at home. (AARP, 2011)

Tom Threlkeld, the director of communications for the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, recently shared his thoughts on this very topic.

“’We have seen usage of home health care and hospice rising quite dramatically in the last few years,’ Threlkeld said, adding that the need will continue and provide more jobs in a growing industry….Threlkeld says it makes sound fiscal sense, too. It’s less expensive than hospitalization and nursing homes.” (KTVA, 2019)

That’s a good thing, as we see firsthand how caregivers positively impact their clients each and every day.

Private Duty Homecare

…older adults who have heart failure may do better when they get home health care once they return home after their discharges from the hospital and skilled nursing facility. (HomeCare magazine, 2019)

“‘The lengths that these [nurses] will go to take care of you in your home is staggering,’ Threlkeld said, referring to some in Alaska who use seaplanes and dog sleds to get to those hard-to-reach locales. In the Lower 48, it often involves hours of driving or boating to remote islands.” (KTVA, 2019)

We’ve discussed the “who” and “why” of private duty homecare. Now let’s take a deep dive into the “what,” “where” and “when” of this increasingly popular solution to the caregiving challenges at play in the United States.

What does private duty mean?

The word “private” is used to describe any health insurance plan that is not run by the federal or state government … All private health insurance plans are designed to split the cost between [the care recipient] and the insurer, making medical care more affordable for [the care recipient]. (Policy Genius, 2019)

In other words, private duty can mean that care recipients and their families cover the cost of services.

What is private duty or private pay homecare?

Private duty home care is a sub-set of general homecare. 

Private duty homecare, or private pay home care, is a service provided by homecare agencies to people in need of assistance with daily activities. People who sign up for private duty homecare often do so because it can help people remain independent for longer. 

Homecare agencies employ caregivers who assist clients in services such as nursing care, medication disbursement and transportation to appointments. More often than not, caregivers also provide much-needed companionship to combat isolation. 

Perhaps the greatest thing about aging in place is the ability to have family and friends visit anytime. (CareLink, 2019)

How does private pay work?

Private pay can mean a person is paying for services themselves (private pay), or it can mean that a patient has commercial insurance and is having to cover some of the costs themselves (out-of-pocket). (San Angelo Home Health)

Does Medicare pay for private duty?

Recent policy changes by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mean that MA plans can now cover non-medical services that impact beneficiaries’ health. Some plans are using the new flexibility around supplemental benefits to provide or expand transportation benefits, home-delivered meals, and personal care services. (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2019)

What is a private duty agency?

Private duty home care agencies are homecare agencies but homecare agencies aren’t necessarily private duty agencies. Private duty home care agencies are compensated directly by care recipients and their families for services rendered, while other homecare agencies bill to Medicaid and Medicare. Some homecare agencies serve both private duty clients and those who benefit from government programs such as Medicaid (a state and federal program) and Medicare (a federal program). 

Home care provides vital services that allow seniors to stay in their home as long as possible…Home care is growing as a vital segment of the health care continuum. (Home Care Association of America, 2016)

Are you in the process of opening a private duty homecare agency? Read our ten tips for new agency owners. The helpful guide will ensure you and your entire care team open successfully.

Homecare Software Solutions


How do I grow and scale my homecare company?

Do you already run a successful private duty homecare company? If you’re ready to grow and scale your homecare agency, talk to us.

While the barrier to entry for opening your own homecare agency might be low, it has become increasingly harder to stand out from the competition and succeed as new agencies open daily. 

Additionally, the rules and regulations governing the homecare industry will continue to shift and change as more eyeballs attend to the ever-increasing focus on homecare in the United States. (Hint: having the right homecare software in place can mean successful management of scheduling, billing, time keeping, caregiver recruitment and retention, data analytics and more.)

Are you looking to grow your private duty homecare agency?



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Talk with one of our experts to learn about how the right homecare software system can take your company to the next level.

Did you know? November is National Home Care and Hospice Month. It has us feeling extra grateful to be a part of the compassionate community of homecare professionals specializing in the private duty and Medicaid space. To recognize homecare professionals across the United States, we’ve made a donation to Feeding America. Inspired to join us with a pledge of your own?

Get in touch.