Caregiver Celebrates, Honors Direct Support Professionals During 2019 DSP Recognition Week

9/9/19

Contact: Anna Todd 682-707-2725 anna.todd@cg-idd.com

 

(Fort Worth, TX…) Mark Lashley, President and CEO of Caregiver, Inc., a leading provider of services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), and his company are honoring their 3,250 Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) across four states during the week of September 8, 2019, designated as DSP Recognition Week.

“DSP Week is a great time for us to pause and thank our front-line team members who care for our individuals 24 hours per day, 365 days per year,” said Lashley. “Caregiver’s DSPs are the most compassionate, hardest working people you will ever meet, and we are grateful for everything they do to help our individuals live the best, most independent lives possible.”

During the week beginning September 8 through 14, Caregiver and its branded affiliates in Texas, Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio will hold a variety of events and thank-you activities with area DSPs. In Tennessee, Governor Bill Lee has proclaimed Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week; his special proclamation includes language about DSP’s professionalism and empathy for the individuals and families they support. The proclamation notes that “…communities are strengthened and enriched by the inclusion of all members of society, including people with disabilities.”

“It’s our honor to shine a light on the men and women who care directly for our individuals,” concluded Lashley. “They are deserving of our utmost respect and support.”

About Caregiver

Caregiver, Inc., is a privately held company with over 3500 employees within the headquarters support group and branded affiliates in four states. They provide a wide range of intermediate, home and community care services to nearly 2800 individuals who qualify as developmentally or intellectually disabled or are impacted by related conditions. Formed in 2015, Caregiver headquarters are at 4800 Overton Plaza, Suite 440, Fort Worth, Texas 76109; (800) 299-5161. Visit cg-idd.com.

###

To download a printer-friendly version of this story, please click here.

Caregiver’s Randi Morgan Promoted to Executive Director of Clinical, Quality and Compliance

 

8/29/19

Contact: Anna Todd 682-707-2725 anna.todd@cg-idd.com

(Fort Worth, TX…) Mark Lashley, President and CEO of Caregiver, Inc., a leading provider of services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), has announced that Randi Morgan, RN, has been promoted to the role of Executive Director of Clinical, Quality and Compliance, a new position at the company. Morgan, who was formerly Senior Nurse Consultant, will oversee all of Caregiver’s initiatives in three critical service areas: clinical, quality and compliance, as well as the newly developed Caregiver Corporate Compliance Plan being introduced this fall.

Randi MorganMorgan – a seasoned registered nurse – has provided clinical services to the developmentally disabled population for nearly 20 years. Her expertise and drive for excellence have impacted the organizations and individuals she has served.

She joined Daybreak in 2010, where she became Director of Clinical Services by the time Daybreak was acquired by Caregiver in 2015. Under the Caregiver banner, she led or played a key role in many of the company’s most important initiatives, including implementation of telepsychiatry and electronic health records, the conversion of pharmacy services to a high-quality vendor, development of an RN-on-call program, and served on the integration team as clinical leader for a number of Caregiver’s newly acquired companies.

Morgan will report to Lashley and will have six direct reports: Caregiver’s state and regional nursing directors (where regulations allow), an RN for Clinical Support and a Senior Director of Quality Assurance.

“I am excited to see our vision of high-quality, technology-supported, and innovative solutions come to fruition under Randi’s exemplary leadership,” said Lashley. “She cares deeply about the individuals we serve, and her direction and insights make an important impact on our business.”

A graduate of Texas Christian University, Morgan is a member of Developmental Disability Nurses Association and Providers Alliance of Community Services in Texas.

About Caregiver

Caregiver, Inc., is a privately held company with over 3500 employees within the headquarters support group and branded affiliates in four states. They provide a wide range of intermediate, home and community care services to nearly 2800 individuals who qualify as developmentally or intellectually disabled or are impacted by related conditions. Formed in 2015, Caregiver headquarters are at 4800 Overton Plaza, Suite 440, Fort Worth, Texas 76109; (800) 299-5161. Visit cg-idd.com.

###

Caregiver, Inc. Launches College Internship Program, Recruits Top Texas Students from Six Universities

(Fort Worth, TX…) Mark Lashley, President and CEO of Caregiver, Inc., a leading provider of services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), has announced that the company has created a competitive college internship program for the next generation of servant leaders in its Fort Worth headquarters and support center office. The first interns are now completing their summer with the organization of over 3500 employees in four states.

Chief Human Resources Officer Dau Tucker and her team led program design, curriculum development and recruitment of the first class of participants. According to Ms. Tucker, for the inaugural 2019 summer session, Caregiver received over 50 applicants, conducted 35 interviews, and ultimately hired six students from across the state of Texas to work for a summer in accounting, operations, HR, and mergers and acquisitions.

Caregiver Summer Interns“As the next generation of talented and compassionate students graduate and enter the workforce, we want them to think of Caregiver first as an employer of choice,” said Ms. Tucker. “It was important that we offered challenging and meaningful work, leaving each intern feeling that they have contributed to our mission and made an impact on the lives of others. Caregiver is an ideal employer for people who want their careers to align with a mission driven organization that serves an important and vulnerable population of individuals in our communities.”

Caregiver’s summer 2019 class of interns:

  • Casey Anthony – University: UTA, Major: Finance, 2019/2020 Year: Junior, 2019/2020 Year: Senior, Caregiver Department: Accounts Payable
  • Collin Curry – University: Baylor, Major: Accounting, 2019/2020 Year: Senior, Caregiver Department: Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Briane Emerson – University: Texas Woman’s University, Major: Finance, 2019/2020 Year: Senior, Caregiver Department: HR and Operations
  • Savannah Rodricks – University: Texas A&M, Major: Communications, 2019/2020 Year: Junior, Caregiver Department: HR
  • Yan Rodriguez – University: Texas Wesleyan University, Major: Accounting, 2019/2020 Year: Senior, Caregiver Department: Accounts Payable
  • Alex Wallace – University: TCU, Major: Economics, 2019/2020 Year: Senior, Caregiver Department: Accounting

After Caregiver’s human resources team cultivated relationships with universities across Texas, they successfully attracted conscientious, hard-working students looking for hands-on professional experience in a thoughtful, helpful environment.

“We want our students to learn what it’s like to work in a business that serves individuals with IDD, to help them better see and serve their neighbors,” commented Ms. Tucker. “As well, we want to aid them as they make their next steps and decisions in their coursework and careers.”

Briane Emerson

A senior at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Briane Emerson’s Caregiver human resources and operations internship opened her eyes to a new career path.

Casey Anthony

Casey Anthony, a junior at University of Texas at Arlington, was drawn to Caregiver’s mission of helping individuals with IDD reach their potential and live with dignity.“I wanted to apply my college coursework and help make a difference in people’s lives,” said Ms. Emerson. “This summer, I loved my work here so much, I’m considering shifting from finance to recruiting.”

“In the accounting/accounts payable department, I supported a variety of departments while also taking on special projects,” said Mr. Anthony. “I’ve learned so much from my mentors here, and I’m humbled by Caregiver’s work and the people they serve.”

“My work here made me think twice about our world and the individuals who really need help from great companies like Caregiver,” Mr. Anthony concluded.Caregiver’s interns reported that the company provided them with practical, real-world experience they can take back to school as they complete their studies. As well, the company has enlightened them about fellow citizens too often marginalized, overlooked or forgotten.

The 2019 internship class was asked if they would recommend Caregiver’s program to future intern candidates, and the response was a resounding, “Yes.” For students seeking a corporate office where the focus is on professional skills development and servant leadership, Caregiver offers an enjoyable, supportive environment. To apply for future internship opportunities, contact Tiffany Burns, Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant at (386) 383-6390 or Tiffany.Burns@cg-idd.com.

About Caregiver

Caregiver, Inc., is a privately held company with over 3500 employees within the headquarters support group and branded affiliates in four states. They provide a wide range of intermediate, home and community care services to nearly 2800 individuals who qualify as developmentally or intellectually disabled or are impacted by related conditions. Formed in 2015, Caregiver headquarters are at 4800 Overton Plaza, Suite 440, Fort Worth, Texas 76109; (800) 299-5161. Visit cg-idd.com.

###

For a printer-friendly version of this story, please click here.

Caregiver, Inc. Announces Plano Office and Area Director, Meets Expanding IDD Support Service Needs

Jaime Grider named Area Director

(Fort Worth, TX…) Mark Lashley, President and CEO of Caregiver, Inc., a leading provider of services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), has announced that Jaime Grider has returned to Caregiver, Inc., as an Area Director. She will focus on launching and growing support services for IDD individuals in Collin and surrounding counties out of a new Caregiver Home and Community Services (HCS) office at 5164 Village Creek Drive, Suite 200 in Plano, 75093.

According to Alex Sturges, Caregiver’s Vice President of Operations Strategy who spearheaded the expansion into Collin County, Plano-area demand for support services for people with disabilities exceeds availability, creating a serious gap that Caregiver is working to fill.

“We needed an office in Plano with a strong leader focused on extending services to individuals throughout the area,” he said. “Our presence there should help significantly in meeting growing needs.”

As part of Caregiver’s Texas Region 3, the 2500-square-foot Plano office is located at 5164 Village Creek Drive, Suite 200, near the intersection of the President George Bush Turnpike and the Dallas North Tollway, with ample on-site parking.

“We will emphasize Supported Employment Services to assist individuals from community foster care host homes and other programs as they apply for local jobs,” Grider explained. “Our employment services goal is sustainable competitive employment or self-employment.”

Grider will also help coordinate involvement in community day programs. When between job interviews or outside community day activities, participating individuals can enjoy on-site music and art rooms. The office will open this month.

“Jaime has proven herself as a leader in the industry, especially in developing new programs for people with IDD,” said Caregiver’s North Texas Regional Director Debbie Youngblood. “Her innovative thinking will drive quality options for individuals and families seeking HCS services in Plano and surrounding communities.”

During an earlier role at Caregiver, Grider was instrumental in developing a dozen group homes and 50 foster care locations while working closely with Youngblood. Her other experience includes service as an area director for Daybreak Community Services, D&S Community Services, Educare/Rescare, and Progressive Life of North Texas; three years working directly with IDD individuals; and stints in healthcare sales, marketing and claims auditing.

Grider is planning a public grand opening for the Plano office, located at 5164 Village Creek Drive, Suite 200 in Plano, TX 75093. For more, email Jaime.Grider@sglctx.com or phone 972-786-2507.

About Caregiver

Formed in 2015, Caregiver, Inc., is a privately held company with over 3500 employees within the headquarters support group and branded affiliates in four states. They provide a wide range of intermediate, home and community care services to nearly 2800 individuals who qualify as developmentally or intellectually disabled or are impacted by related conditions. Caregiver headquarters are at 4800 Overton Plaza, Suite 440, Fort Worth, Texas 76109; (800) 299-5161. Visit cg-idd.com.

###

For a printer-friendly version, please click here.

Caregiver, Inc. Sets 2020 Employment Supports Program Goals for Individuals with IDD in Texas

Fulfilling Work Adds Meaning, Income

When Texans want to work, isn’t it important for them to have an opportunity to do so? Fort Worth-based Caregiver, Inc., believes the answer is an emphatic, “Yes!”

Caregiver provides services and supports to people with intellectual and developmental (IDD) disabilities through Medicaid waiver programs, over 2300 in Texas alone. The company also has operations in three additional states. Through home and community-based services, Caregiver in Texas empowers individuals to carry out their passions and desires in the workplace through a signature program – Employment Supports.

“It sounds simple to say, but work is an important part of all our lives,” said Amanda Corrigan, Vice President of Operational Excellence at Caregiver’s operations support center in Fort Worth.

“Just like any one of us, people facing disability challenges also want to learn new skills, make money, have a sense of accomplishment and contribute to their community. We’re here to support them at every stage: from job seeking, to training, and the employment stability process.”

In 2018 alone, employed individuals Caregiver served in Texas earned a cumulative $300,000 in community workplace employment. The company aims to raise that figure by 2020. To that end, Caregiver’s four Texas regional directors and 18 area directors met late last year to define clear targets.

“We want to see wages up by 20 percent to $360,000 by year-end 2020,” Corrigan said. “That can mean more individuals in the workplace and more income for those who are already working.”

Caregiver’s support systems and programming evolve on an ongoing basis. Interestingly, a driving force in advancing Employment Supports has also been spurred by an uptick in interest from individuals who want to find a job. As it is for anyone looking for work, a critical component for those Caregiver serves is getting a good fit.

Caregiver’s Employment Supports process begins with assigning a support manager to work directly with an individual to assess capabilities, set a tone of optimism and infuse a can-do attitude.

Then, the support manager researches appropriate job options in the community. After sharing identified options with individuals and guardians or families, the support manager talks to employers. If an opening is identified, the support manager preps the individual and schedules an interview, provides transportation then coaches and shadows the new employee at work when hired.

“By doing everything we can to find ideal job placements that are workable in the community, our support managers are making a huge difference in the lives of individuals,” said Kathy Griffith (left), Caregiver’s South Regional Director in San Antonio. “Bosses get reassurance that at any particular work site, we will provide a high level of support.”

Griffith stressed that there is no separate funding stream, while job support services are not billable but are nevertheless critical to mission. Equally important is a community job pool for opportunities. That’s why she is dedicated to sharing their success stories. When individuals with IDD challenges are recognized for the achievements that they have gained, the stage is set to inspire prospective employers.

“We want all our employment partners – like McDonald’s in Sugarland and so many others – to know that we are here to help make each employment engagement a success,” Griffith said.

Facilitated by outstanding partners such as McDonald’s, Texas Tech University, Marshalls Department Stores and others who have stepped up their hiring of persons with disabilities, Caregiver is optimistic about their 2020 targets.

Here are a few current success stories:

West Texas Regional Director Kirk Coates in Lubbock shared the story of Jonathan Morales (right), a Lubbock resident with a great love for Texas Tech football. Morales has been receiving services through Daybreak Community Services for the past seven years. A young man who has experienced a lifetime of disabilities, he has, with Daybreak’s support, experienced much success overcoming barriers. Early on as he prepared for community employment, Morales completed a three-year stint at Market Street Supermarket as a sacker before he lost that job, and, therefore, his schedule and paycheck.

Daily frustrations mounted. No one questioned Jonathan’s work ethic. Yet, was there a company that would give him a chance to show his abilities? There was. In fact, it was a university.

Daybreak was able to place him in a job in a work environment in which he could excel, right on the campus of Texas Tech University.

Today, Morales is a lobby attendant, food prep and dishwasher at The Commons, with a red and black uniform and an increase in pay.

“I love my new job, and I am very happy to be working again,” Morales (pictured above) beamed. “The best part of working at The Commons is being able to attend Texas Tech University home games for free.”

Another shining example is Andrew Smith (below), a resident of Sugarland. Smith lived in a group home beginning in November 2017. He struggled with mental illness, acting out and nearly losing his placement there and in a subsequent location, as well. He also was having problems at his dayhab facility.

After a thorough series of telepsychiatry and local group sessions – far superior for Smith, as he was anxious about outside appointments, his behavior improved, and he began to understand that medication compliance would help him reach his goal of employment. Kimberly Williams and her Daybreak staff and the Texas Employment Supports program got in motion. Within a year, Smith went on a job interview and was offered a job at a McDonald’s franchise. With positive experiences driving his dedication, he now calls his employer independently to receive his weekly schedule and arrives in his freshly pressed uniform to do a job that he greatly enjoys. Along with a paycheck, Smith has an increased level of confidence and self-esteem and an improved outlook on life.

In North Texas, Emily Kidd and Megan Smith both live with six other young ladies in Granbury House, a group home with Southern Concepts about 30 miles from Fort Worth. Gina Graham is their home coordinator.

With the help of Graham’s staff and in cooperation with Texas Workforce Commission’s Vocational Rehabilitation Division, Megan and Emily (pictured left) found out about an opportunity at Marshall’s Department Store.

To prepare, they began nine months of careful training and instruction at their Granbury house and in their day habilitation facility.

The Texas Workforce Commission’s Tommy Provost worked to ensure that Emily and Megan knew how to greet the public, how to dress properly for work, and how to respond in an interview. They were ready.

The young women soon began working at Granbury’s Marshall’s Department Store in Granbury.

This is just a beginning. Emily wishes to become more financially independent so that she does not have to rely on her family for monetary support. Megan is thinking in terms of a retail career.

“Without the help of LesleyAnne, Kaytlin, Pam, Melinda and Gina,” stressed Megan, “I would not have had the tools to accomplish this.”

Social media has helped expose accomplishments, and the company wants more people across the state to know about them. As awareness grows, Caregiver anticipates further expansion and enhanced Employment Supports across the state.

“It’s beyond gratifying when you can help an individual rise above challenges and move into a fulfilling, progress-oriented situation,” adds North Texas Regional Director Debbie Youngblood (pictured left).

“This program is a result of the efforts of all our team members working in many areas of support for the people we serve,” she emphasizes. “As Caregiver exceeds industry standards, those we serve reap the benefits.”

ABOUT CAREGIVER, INC.

Caregiver, Inc., is a privately held company with over 3500 employees within the headquarters support group in Fort Worth and branded affiliate organizations in four states. The affiliates provide intermediate, home and community care services to nearly 2800 individuals who qualify as developmentally or intellectually disabled or are impacted by related conditions. Caregiver, Inc. was formed in 2015 and now includes these affiliates: Unified Care Group, Southern Concepts, River Gardens, Daybreak Community Services Inc., St. Giles Living Centers, DSA of Indiana, CG-HHC, All Care Services, T/R Residential, and Omni Support Services of Tennessee, and S&K in Ohio. All have similar service offerings and strong reputations in their local communities. Caregiver services include supported home living, family protective services, case coordination, nursing services, respite services, day habilitation, psychology services, dental treatment, specialized therapies, adaptive aids, minor home modifications, and supported employment. Caregiver president and CEO is Mark Lashley. Company headquarters are at 4800 Overton Plaza, Suite 440 in Fort Worth, Texas 76109. Phone is (800) 299-5161. They are on the web at cg-idd.com.

“By doing everything we can to find ideal job placements that are workable in the community, our support managers are making a huge difference in the lives of individuals.”

Kathy Griffith, South Regional Director in San Antonio, Caregiver, Inc.

For a printer-friendly version of this article, click here.

IDD Services Company Caregiver Reskills, Mentors Direct Support Professionals to Fill IT Roles

IDD Services Company Caregiver Reskills, Mentors Direct Support Professionals to Fill IT Roles

IT Pilot Program Invests in Employees to Propel Professional Growth

July 2019

(Fort Worth, TX)… At Caregiver, Inc., the company’s 3500 employees are its most vital and treasured assets – from direct support professionals (DSPs) to headquarters support center team members and executives. All fulfill vital roles in the care and nurturing of the thousands of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) they support, especially front-line caregivers, Direct Support Professionals (DSPs).

In the IDD field, DSPs are uniquely dedicated to their work and to those for whom they provide care. Yet for DSPs looking to advance their own careers, options are sometimes limited unless an employee takes a break to pursue more education, certification training, or other career development.

To open up opportunities for existing employees to remain in the field, stay employed and grow their own careers, Sameer Bhargava, Caregiver’s Chief Technology Officer and Chief Information Officer, is piloting a new program that offers Caregiver front line employees who have relevant aptitudes a way to develop new skills, map a fresh career pathway and advance earning potential, all while remaining employed at the company.

The approach has merit, according to a recent Harvard Business Review article by Peter Capelli that underscores the value of hiring from within. When offering retraining and supporting career development for current employees who know the business, understand the culture and mission, and have proven themselves in a different role over a number of years, an organization’s potential for decreasing turnover is clear. Capelli writes that this is especially important because frequently vacancies are caused by the perception of lack of career advancement.

At Caregiver, Bhargava is creating career advancement opportunities for Caregiver team members while also meeting the increasing technology needs of the rapidly growing company. In the past year, Caregiver’s rapid growth – acquiring half a dozen companies in four states – necessitated the integration and modernization of technology and networks across every aspect of operations and IDD direct care and support services.

“As our company expands and technology evolves, we need bright, driven colleagues who are dedicated to our individuals and want to rise through the ranks,” said Bhargava. “Not all technology requires coding or a systems engineering background. It makes sense to hire a passionate current employee who understands our business and can learn their role in the tech department within just a few months. That’s far superior to hiring an outside candidate from the IT field who lacks an appreciation for what we do, the individuals we serve and the nuances of our business.”

According to Bhargava, several new tech department employees have moved seamlessly into business analyst roles that help the company’s operations and technology interface such as managing vendors and project timelines or helping colleagues troubleshoot day-to-day technology issues as they arise.

“Technology makes our business more efficient and frees up front line employees’ time. More time means we are able to help more individuals,” said Bhargava. Caregiver in Texas supports over 2300 individuals. Still, there are 100,000 individuals with IDD on the State of Texas waitlist, hoping to receive care, he emphasizes.

“Since funding in Medicaid reimbursed services will never fully meet the demand for services, we need to find ways to provide for more people with the same amount of money,” he explains. “It is up to us to cultivate a well-run business in which staff use their time actually helping those we serve rather than being mired in antiquated paperwork.”

Caregiver employees who have moved into the IT program report that learning new skills and being mentored are welcome professional challenges because they are able to stay so closely connected to the individuals they serve. In fact, the combination has been life-changing, according to Sarah Williams.

“I never thought IT would be a career path for me,” admitted Williams, an IT analyst since February 2019 who had previously been a QA assistant, then an office manager, before joining the IT team. “Before, I was always the one calling IT for help!”

Now she is providing tech assistance to her colleagues.

“It’s clear that Caregiver is interested in my personal and professional growth,” Williams said. “I’m proud of the ways I’m able to help our team members and the individuals we support. We actually make their lives easier and better through technology.”

Williams is hopeful that even those who might think work in IT is out of reach will recognize the options.

“If you have passion for the IDD field and you feel ready for a new role, IT is a great place to contribute from a different vantage point,” she said. “Plus, the potential for growth is fantastic.”

According to Bhargava, front-line staff increasingly recognize the value of technology and the many opportunities Caregiver offers. Two employees who have been in the industry or with the one of the company’s affiliates for a long time are now-seasoned IT analysts Beverly Person and Nicole Modisette.

“I know that through technology, we’re improving the company’s processes,” said Person. “And that has a direct impact on the quality of life of our individuals.”

Among some of the projects the technology team has led are migrating to electronic health records, streamlining and automating the company’s trust department procedures, and improving prescription vendor processes. Each improvement affords the direct support professionals and other frontline caregivers the opportunity to spend more quality time with individuals in their care. As well, individuals receive what they need – such as prescriptions or funds for their daily needs – much more quickly and efficiently.

“We quickly learned that IT is here to help the company, our colleagues, and our individuals,” said Modisette. “I’ve had the opportunity to work on massive projects like electronic health record rollouts, and I feel an incredible sense of accomplishment for playing a role in those projects.”

Modisette hopes her colleagues consider trying on a new, advanced role in the IT department, too.

“If you sit on the sidelines,” she said, “you could miss an opportunity to move forward.”

Career expansion, staff retention, and increased efficiencies that allow more service for individuals are a powerful set of advantages. For anyone interested in pursuing Caregiver’s employment opportunities, please visit www.cg-idd.com/careers.

ABOUT CAREGIVER, INC.

Caregiver, Inc., is a privately held company with over 3500 employees within the headquarters support group in Fort Worth and branded affiliate organizations in four states. The affiliates provide intermediate, home and community care services to nearly 2800 individuals who qualify as developmentally or intellectually disabled or are impacted by related conditions. Caregiver, Inc. was formed in 2015 and now includes these affiliates: Unified Care Group, Southern Concepts, River Gardens, Daybreak Community Services Inc., St. Giles Living Centers, DSA of Indiana, CG-HHC, All Care Services, T/R Residential and S&K in Ohio, and Omni Support Services of Tennessee. All have similar service offerings and strong reputations in their local communities. Caregiver services include supported home living, family protective services, case coordination, nursing services, respite services, day habilitation, psychology services, dental treatment, specialized therapies, adaptive aids, minor home modifications, and supported employment. Caregiver president and CEO is Mark Lashley. Company headquarters are at 4800 Overton Plaza, Suite 440, Fort Worth, Texas 76109. Phone is (800) 299-5161. They are on the web at cg-idd.com.

“As our company expands and technology evolves, we need bright, driven colleagues who are dedicated to our individuals and want to rise through the ranks. Not all technology requires coding or a systems engineering background. It makes sense to hire a passionate current employee who understands our business and can learn their role in the tech department within just a few months. That’s far superior to hiring an outside candidate from the IT field who lacks an appreciation for what we do, the individuals we serve and the nuances of our business.”
Sameer Bhargava, Caregiver, Inc.’s CTO and CIO

[In the News] Caregiver CEO Mark Lashley Honored at 2019 Fort Worth Business Press C-Suite Awards

Caregiver CEO Mark Lashley Honored at 2019 Fort Worth Business Press C-Suite Awards

June 26, 2019

Caregiver, Inc. CEO Mark Lashley was named one of the 2019 C-Suite winners by the Fort Worth Business Press. Click here for the story, and scroll down for more.

In Texas, Caregiver’s RN On Call Achieves Goals for Nurses, IDD Individuals Via Exclusive Supplement

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

(June 5, 2019 | Fort Worth, TX) … When Caregiver, Inc.’s Director of Nursing, Randi Morgan, RN, BSN, launched a single-market RN On Call pilot in 2012, she had three priorities in mind: sustain excellence in continuity of care, assure immediately available support after hours for direct service professionals (DSPs) caring for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), and provide weekend and evening relief for staff nurses with full caseloads.

Today, the Caregiver RN on Call program’s dedicated team of full-time, after-hours telephone triage nurses are hitting those targets as they help manage health issues that arise among the nearly 2300 individuals with IDD issues whom Caregiver serves throughout the State of Texas.

“The pilot was an epic success,” Morgan (pictured left) noted. “We saw the positive effects immediately and began expansion statewide.”

No other service provider for IDD care in the state has such a supplementary, full-time, professionally staffed on-call program in place, according to Morgan. Texas cities served include Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Baytown, Beaumont, San Antonio, Lancaster, Temple, New Braunfels, Amarillo, Abilene, Lufkin, Mexia, Benbrook, Brownwood, Wichita Falls, Granbury, College Station, Lubbock, San Angelo and Victoria.

According to Morgan, through the RN On Call program individuals Caregiver supports have reduced hospitalizations, decreased emergency room visits, and greater quality of life. Caregiver’s coterie of highly-skilled after hours triage nurses helps drive greater accountability, lessen fatigue and burnout for the daily nursing staff and assure a better flow and continuity of reporting. And importantly, front line DSPs report reduced stress and peace of mind knowing after-hours help is one phone call away.

“Daytime nurses are more satisfied with their jobs, with reduced downtime and enhanced retention,” said Morgan. “Caregiver’s Direct Support Professionals, families and guardians receive quick after-hours access and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

Such responsiveness and access is important, as telephone triage can be more complicated when serving the IDD community. Frequent issues include illnesses, medications, injuries, and maladaptive behavior, among others.

Each quarter, Caregiver on-call RNs receive thousands of calls, often averaging 30,000 calls annually. In the last quarter of 2017, of 5,056 calls answered by RN On Call nurses, only 137 resulted in transfer to emergency departments and less than a quarter of the calls required a follow-up conversation.

Among the goals of the program are facilitation of after-hours access, reduction of delays in response time, sustaining excellent continuity of care, and preserving ER and doctors’ visit appropriateness.

“The program has exacting protocols and guidelines,” said Diane Rickman, RN, (left) Caregiver Lead On Call RN nurse in West Texas. “This assures that good judgment underpinned by years of experience and strong educational backgrounds prevails.”

Randi Morgan explains that such judgment capability also reflects metacognition, thinking about thinking. Nurses have scientific skills, empathy (generally defined as an effort to appreciate the patient’s experience from his or her perspective) and situational consciousness that can guide the interviews with Direct Support Professionals so that each DSP supplies the best information about the individual they support to the RN On Call nurse.

“Our nurses draw upon finely-honed intuition informed by experience and decision-making over many, many years,” said Morgan.

Experience also contributes to clear communication. Information shared via electronic health records helps on-call nurses appropriately manage or escalate any situation. Healthcare data and full histories are available at their fingertips; Caregiver will have fully implemented its Taskmaster Pro electronic health records protocol by the fourth quarter of 2019. As communication capabilities continue to evolve, accessible records, voice and now video conferencing inspire even better assessments.

“With video conferencing, we can see the injury, look at the skin condition, essentially get a full picture of each patient,” Rickman states. “In many cases individuals are nonverbal, so visual interaction assures that nurses see facial expressions and observe behavior.”

IDD individuals’ complex situations are often exacerbated by multiple diagnoses. According to the National Council on Disability, “…adults with developmental disabilities are at risk for hearing and vision difficulties, cardiovascular disease, obesity, seizures, mental health and behavioral problems, poor oral health, and poor general fitness.”

Considering those complexities, Morgan reiterates that thorough information-gathering by the nurse is critical.

“Direct support professionals, while skilled at working with the individuals they serve, are not licensed medical professionals,” she noted. “Licensed nurses can help guide each DSP so that the nurse gets the best information.”

A residual benefit is the value of educating the Caregiver Direct Support Professional staff. Each registered nurse shares knowledge and understanding during every conversation.

Five years ago, Caregiver staff nurses had to take call in addition to their daily activities. Even when tired, professionals still had to be the eyes and ears to everything. When fatigued, nurses could miss less transparent behaviors in this complex population, Morgan explained.

“Now, there is less fatigue and more transparency,” she said. “Transparency and visibility of daily reports assures everyone understands what is going on, at all times.”

Morgan stresses again that Caregiver is the only company that works with IDD individuals in Texas to have an on-call nurse triage department. Before the RN On Call program began, Caregiver used contract nurses exclusively. While adequate, continuity was lacking. There was less familiarity among the teams, and peace of mind suffered. Having full-time, on call triage nurses was the solution.

“I believe the RN On Call formula is people + passion = improvement,” said Diane. “We integrate technology and relationships. Each personal touch builds trust and connection. Every team member at Caregiver understands his or her common reason for being here. In short, good staff means good care.”

For 2019, managing ratios of nurses on staff is at the forefront. Morgan has developed the proprietary Caregiver RN On Call training program that includes an 1100-page nursing guidebook, a five-hour education course and Caregiver’s electronic health records training for both waiver and non-waiver reimbursement programs. She is ready to add RN On Call team members who have patient experience, excellent communication skills, depth of pathophysiology knowledge, and a thorough understanding of pharmacology.

During the third and fourth quarters of 2019, Randi Morgan anticipates expanding the RN On Call program just as soon as practicable to additional Caregiver service areas in Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio

ABOUT CAREGIVER, INC.

Caregiver, Inc., is a privately held company with over 3500 employees within the headquarters support group in Fort Worth and branded affiliate organizations in four states. The affiliates provide intermediate, home and community care services to nearly 2800 individuals who qualify as developmentally or intellectually disabled or are impacted by related conditions. Caregiver, Inc. was formed in 2015 and now includes these affiliates: Unified Care Group, Southern Concepts, River Gardens, Daybreak Community Services Inc., St. Giles Living Centers, DSA of Indiana, CG-HHC, All Care Services, T/R Residential and S&K in Ohio, and Omni Support Services of Tennessee. All have similar service offerings and strong reputations in their local communities. Caregiver services include supported home living, family protective services, case coordination, nursing services, respite services, day habilitation, psychology services, dental treatment, specialized therapies, adaptive aids, minor home modifications, and supported employment. Caregiver president and CEO is Mark Lashley. Company headquarters are at 4800 Overton Plaza, Suite 440, Fort Worth, Texas 76109. Phone is (800) 299-5161. They are on the web at cg-idd.com.

“With the RN On Call program, individuals Caregiver supports have reduced hospitalizations, decreased emergency room visits, and greater quality of life. Caregiver’s coterie of highly skilled after-hours triage nurses help drive greater accountability, lessen fatigue and burnout for the daily nursing staff and assure a better flow and continuity of reporting. And importantly, front line DSPs report reduced stress and peace of mind knowing after-hours help is one phone call away.” Randi Morgan, RN, BSN – Caregiver, Inc.’s Director of Nursing

For a printer-friendly version of this article, please click here.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Caregiver Tennessee’s Employment and Community First Program Supports Individuals with Disabilities

Caregiver Tennessee’s Employment and Community First Program Supports Individuals with Disabilities

ECF Supports Improve Outcomes as Caregiver Adds Employees, Revenues

After Hunter Lewis (pictured above, left) survived a severe illness and spent months in the hospital during 5th grade, his family knew they faced an uphill climb helping their previously bright, energetic 11-year-old son navigate a post-illness world with diminished intellectual capabilities and previously unimagined challenges to social interactions, among other residual effects.

Now 23, Hunter Lewis has a passion for model cars, bowling, and his job at a Kingsport, Tennessee Wendy’s.

That job is just one of Lewis’s achievements made possible, in part, by the work of Caregiver, Inc. Tennessee, an affiliate of Texas-based Caregiver, Inc., with over 3500 employees at the headquarters support group and in dozens of branded affiliate organizations throughout Texas, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee. They provide care services to nearly 3000 individuals who qualify as developmentally or intellectually disabled (IDD) or are impacted by related conditions, including services like home living, family protective services, case coordination, nursing services, respite services, day habilitation, psychology services, dental treatment, specialized therapies, adaptive aids, minor home modifications, and within the past several years in Tennessee and soon in Texas, supported employment.

Caregiver Tennessee, often still referred to as Omni Support Services (Caregiver acquired Omni in 2017), designed a supported employment program in direct response to consumer demand fueled by the State of Tennessee’s 2018 Employment First (EF) program. EF aims, among other goals, to achieve a stronger shared community commitment to increasing the number of employers that hire people with disabilities. Tennessee is at the forefront of employment supports, one of only two states to receive Core State distinction for the eighth straight year.

William (Will) Blank, Caregiver’s Regional Director for Tennessee, joined the company a year ago and now leads Caregiver Tennessee’s own Employment and Community First (ECF) program.

Will Blank

“By making significant company investments over the past 18 months, we are enthusiastically meeting the state’s Employment First challenge,” he explained.

He said other providers were simply not offering the job support services in ways his company thought most effective.

“To help individuals find meaningful work and contribute in their local communities, Caregiver designed ECF to cover every step in the process,” Blank said. “Our program identifies employers willing to diversify their workforce with IDD employees, facilitates interviews, transports individuals to work, and provides guided instruction by professional job coaches at the workplace. Coaches shadow participants as long as necessary for real time education and skills supports.”

From their Tennessee corporate office in Nashville, Tennessee, Caregiver has recruited ideal staff members to fulfill positions in each area they serve in the state, as well as drawing from their own Direct Service Providers (DSPs) who met the criteria for job coach opportunities. After customized staff training, the resulting suite of employment support services addresses needs and furthers the tenets of Tennessee’s landmark initiative to move IDD individuals from sheltered workshop job settings into their communities to participate in what’s called in the industry competitive, community employment.

Among the most important of Caregiver’s program protocols and tools is professional job coaching. With a coach assigned to each employee candidate with intellectual or developmental disabilities, barriers to employment are greatly diminished.

Beth Landry

Beth Landry, President of Operations for Caregiver Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio, explained: “By pairing experienced, trained professionals with individuals seeking employment, Caregiver is seeing improved outcomes, expanded capabilities and positive responses from the individuals we’re supporting, our employment partners and their patrons.”

Closely supported by his Caregiver coach Craig Adkins, Hunter Lewis is a shining example of the impact of general workforce jobs and real wages — increased compensation from the sheltered workshop setting. According to Employment First’s website, the general workforce should be the first and preferred option for individuals with disabilities receiving assistance from publicly funded systems.

The situation also encourages greater understanding of diversity about individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Work for IDD individuals has wide ranging benefits, not just for the employee, but for his or her co-workers. Each job coach helps teach and enlighten employers by highlighting ways to adapt equipment, develop new techniques, and create cues so that work can proceed seamlessly and effectively. There are more and more employers willing to hire IDD job candidates who can fulfill the roles. Work opportunity tax credits, hiring diversity goals, and the availability of employment supports mean increased opportunities every month.

“The fact is that just about everybody can work,” said Blank, whose healthcare career includes having operated nursing homes for 15 years with the final four years as a Regional Vice President supporting approximately 1,400 residents across Tennessee and Kentucky. He studied business at Tulane University and has an MBA from Auburn University.

Hunter Lewis & Craig Adkins

“The individuals we serve just need the opportunity and coaching. And that’s what we are doing at Caregiver,” he continued. “If barriers like hearing, language, or capabilities happen to exist, our coaches act as a one-on-one mentors available to be with the IDD employee throughout their workday to help them and their employers overcome such barriers.”

Caregiver Tennessee Direct Service Professional and coach Shon Jones serves as a mentor for Caregiver support recipient Rodney Darden (top, right), an employee of Greenwood Cemetery in Nashville, a 115-year-old non-profit corporation with three locations. Jones has observed growing self-confidence as Rodney meets and exceed his goals at Greenwood. He is with him each workday, on site, but it’s Rodney who is growing and succeeding.

Rodney Darden & Shon Jones

“He has gained the respect and admiration of his coworkers at Greenwood,” said Jones. “Rodney is welcomed just like everyone else.”

The current robust economy has helped, too. “Historically low unemployment means individuals who really want to work can have a job,” Blank adds. “Developing great job coaches who understand coaching and can nurture good relationships with employers in the community are critical.”

With coaches and employers in place and buy-in from the managed care organizations such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Amerigroup, and United Health Care that provide funding through the Medicare Waiver Program, the program is solidly grounded and ready for expansion.

“Caregiver is dedicated to continuing to partner with the DIDD, Amerigroup, Blue Cross and UHC to support the Employment First initiative so that more individuals like Rodney and Hunter can gain fully integrated competitive employment,” Beth Landry emphasized.

Caregiver Tennessee’s employment supports are just one of the company’s remarkable programs underway.

As Caregiver expands and achieves an even higher profile on the national industry landscape, Caregiver is driving performance outcomes, expanding service delivery, securing effective partnerships, and contributing substantially to the bottom line.

“We have made a significant investment in both time and people to address Tennessee’s Employment First initiative,” said Will Blank. “As a result of the investment, Caregiver has not only helped individuals find meaningful work and enjoy community integration, but also, on the business side, Caregiver Tennessee has doubled ancillary revenues over a six-month period.”

ABOUT CAREGIVER, INC.

Caregiver Tennessee is based in Nashville, TN, at 301 S Perimeter Park Dr Ste 110, Nashville, 37211. Phone: (615) 832-5454. Caregiver Tennessee is a part of the Caregiver, Inc., family of companies. Caregiver, Inc., is a privately-held company with over 3500 employees within the headquarters support group and branded affiliate organizations in four states. The affiliates provide intermediate, home and community care services to nearly 2800 individuals who qualify as developmentally or intellectually disabled or are impacted by related conditions. Caregiver, Inc. was formed in 2015 and now includes these affiliates: Unified Care Group, Southern Concepts, River Gardens, Daybreak Community Services Inc., St. Giles Living Centers, DSA of Indiana, CG-HHC, All Care Services, T/R Residential, and Omni Support Services of Tennessee. All have similar service offerings and strong reputations in their local communities. Caregiver services include supported home living, family protective services, case coordination, nursing services, respite services, day habilitation, psychology services, dental treatment, specialized therapies, adaptive aids, minor home modifications, and supported employment. Caregiver president and CEO is Mark Lashley. Company headquarters are at 4800 Overton Plaza, Suite 440, Fort Worth, Texas 76109. Phone is (800) 299-5161. They are on the web at cg-idd.com

HUNTER LEWIS’S STORY

Adapting to Hunter Lewis’ environmental and educational needs required numerous twists and turns in the school system, at home, in their Kingsport, Tennessee neighborhood and in health care settings. Lewis’s parents Hope (currently Kingsport’s city court clerk) and Hobart (now retired) realigned their lives. Lewis spent a decade in special education classes at schools that delivered both the best and the worst that the systems had to offer.

Caregiver’s Craig A. Adkins is Hunter Lewis’s Direct Service Professional (DSP), guide and job coach. Craig is a Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP™) and the Greeneville (East Tennessee) regional office program coordinator for Omni Support Services/Caregiver Tennessee’s Employment and Community First Program. With over 19 years working in the field and having had a personal experience with disability – an accident left him disabled for several years and an aunt has cerebral palsy – Adkins is comfortable, compassionate and adept providing daily care and assisting Lewis’s family as he finds new opportunities for the young man in the community and shadows him at his job at Wendy’s.

 

Craig & Hunter on an outing

 

Adkins also oversees the work of additional Caregiver Direct Support Professionals replicating services for other individuals in his region. He lives nearby with his wife and daughter and assists Lewis with life at home and in the community, as he has several times each week for nearly three years.

Beginning in the fall of 2017, Adkins accompanied Lewis to work at Wendy’s where Lewis greets customers, busses tables, and helps clean the restrooms. He also sweeps the dining room, refills the condiment station, and cleans the drink machine. Through his work, Lewis has built self-confidence and gotten a paycheck, some of which he uses to add to his model car collection displayed in his room at home.

“I see his abilities, not his disabilities,” said Adkins. Recently, Adkins has been able to step away one day each week, a huge positive step for Lewis and his family.

IDD employee prospects who contact Caregiver about community job options trigger the process.

  • The company assigns a mentor who works in the community to identify suitable opportunities to present to their clients.

  • If the individuals and their families or guardians think an opportunity could be a good fit, an interview follows.

  • If successful, next comes a job offer.

  • Employees grow in their positions, and coaches adapt their involvement accordingly.

  • Ongoing training and introduction of helpful techniques assure individuals and employers enjoy the accomplishments that follow.

“Work gives people context, meaning, fulfillment, and income,” emphasized Will Blank, Caregiver’s Regional Director for Tennessee.

 

Hunter working at Wendy’s

Community employment has been rewarding for every aspect of the equation: disabled workers can continually engage with the general public, contribute along with their coworkers, diversify the workforce and make more money. Importantly, these jobs also encourage greater understanding about individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities by co-workers, customers, and the neighboring communities.

RODNEY DARDEN’S STORY

Rodney Darden at work

Rodney Darden goes to work at Nashville’s Greenwood Cemetery wearing his embroidered uniform and provides valuable assistance as he polices the area to pick up and discard trash left on the cemetery grounds. He and his team of co-workers care for the greenspace, share good humor, and deepen camaraderie. Jason Sinecki, Caregiver Tennessee’s Area Director for Middle Tennessee, coordinates efforts for Direct Service Providers like Shon Jones.

“The Greenwood employees interact in ways that workforces at other organizations might find admirable,” states Sinecki. That positive sense of achievement is both general and specific.

“I really like doing a good job,” Darden said. He values and appreciates his paycheck, too. “I keep my money in my billfold, but I like to spend it on food like burgers, fries, and a Sprite.”

Darden puts on his suit every other Sunday so Shon Jones can drive him to church where can sing with his choir, having memorized all the songs. Jones reports Darden eagerly listens to the van radio whenever he can, preferring the sounds of Motown.

In the past, Darden participated in local Taekwondo classes for several months. Once each year, Jones and Darden put on their tuxedos and go together to an annual banquet held by Greenwood in Nashville.

Jennifer Boals

Many individuals supported by Caregiver arrive by referral from independent support coordinators, according to Jennifer Boals, Caregiver’s Area Director for Western Tennessee, based in Jackson. Boals completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee Martin and earned a Master’s degree in counseling at Freed-Hardeman.

“Support coordinators are the professionals who help our IDD individuals secure a pathway to community-based day services for six hours every day,” she said. “It can be volunteer work, paid work, or school.”

To assure there is capacity for further placement, Boals tries to anticipate at least three months in advance what will be necessary. She then provides education for families and community, one of the most fulfilling aspects of her job.

“This works simply calls you,” she said. “I have such a sense of making a difference in the lives of our adults, and that yields so much satisfaction.”

All Caregiver clients in Jackson have the opportunity to receive community employment supports. Community employment makes a huge difference. Historically, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities were primarily employed in sheltered workshop situations. When a series of legal challenges to the sheltered workshop model resulted in increased competitive community employment opportunities, one consequence was a change in requirements. A different set of services would be necessary for individuals to make the transition, such as help developing suitable jobs, identifying ideal positions for specific candidates and, after hiring, supporting the IDD individuals in their new roles.

The transition has been rewarding for every aspect of the equation. Community jobs mean disabled workers can continually engage with the general public, contribute along with their coworkers, diversify the workforce and make more money. These jobs also encourage greater understanding of diversity in general and about individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Jason Sinecki

Clearly, work for IDD individuals has wide ranging benefits for the individuals, for their employers and for co-workers, customers, and community.

For a printer-friendly version of this story, please click here.

[In the News] 5 Ways Technology in Healthcare Is Transforming the Way We Approach Medical Treatment

5 Ways Technology in Healthcare Is Transforming the Way We Approach Medical Treatment

May 20, 2019 – Jess Scherman, with Rasmussen College Health Sciences Blog

https://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/health-sciences/blog/technology-in-healthcare-transformation/

Sameer Bhargava, Caregiver’s CTO and CIO, was featured today in an article by Rasmussen College called 5 Ways Technology in Healthcare Is Transforming the Way We Approach Medical Treatment.

Regarding electronic health records, the author Jess Scherman included the following:

Sameer Bhargava, who serves as the chief information officer and chief technology officer at Caregiver, Inc., highlights the efficiencies provided by EHRs to be of critical importance. Over the course of an eight-month period, his team migrated eight million records from paper to an EHR system. “Moving to electronic records elevates our care ecosystem into a cohesive process that can provide a better network of services,” Bhargava says.

To learn more about Caregiver’s technological evolution and it’s people-centric approach to using IT to support the individuals the company serves, click here.