Excel Home Care Distributing $6M in CARES Act Funds to Its Caregivers

Caregivers at Excel Home Care can expect a pay bump in the coming weeks.

Horsham, Pennsylvania-based Excel Home Care is a non-medical personal care agency that began operating under the Help at Home umbrella in 2017. Help at Home is a Chicago-based home care company that operates in 13 states.

In May, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 24 of 2020, which granted state providers of long-term home- and community-based services relief funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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On Monday, Excel Home Care announced it would distribute the entirety of the CARES Act relief funds it received from the state of Pennsylvania to its caregivers for their service during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Excel Home Care received relief funds in excess of $6 million.

The personal care agency has earmarked all of the funds for employee bonuses. Josh Drebes, regional vice president of the company, said the pay boost is a “hero’s bonus.”

“The caregivers and the administrative support teams are counted on by vulnerable citizens,” Drebes told Home Health Care News. “We wanted to give back and support their health and well-being. We wanted to make sure that they were rewarded for providing this care through these tough times.”

As essential front-line workers began facing higher risks while performing their job duties amid the COVID-19 emergency, the question of additional pay or hazard pay has been pushed to the forefront.

Aside from rewarding workers, additional pay can also mean retaining workers. While it’s too early to tell, Drebes believes the extra funds will significantly help with the company’s retention efforts.

“Every caregiver hired by us through the end of this year is going to receive a $400 sign-on bonus,” he said. “They’re also going to qualify for the general pay, which will be a monthly bonus stipend at the end of every month for the rest of this year.”

As a company, Excel Home Care is no stranger to providing aid to its employees. In collaboration with Help at Home, the company sponsored a $1 million employee assistance fund in order to provide grants for workers facing financial difficulties earlier this year.

“They actually got to apply for money we raised,” Drebes said. “We called it the Cares Fund, and it provides grants for employees who had personal challenges related directly to the pandemic.”

In this respect, Excel Home Care isn’t an anomaly. Throughout the public health emergency, many providers have been enterprising and have provided incentives for caregivers working in the field.

Hackensack, New Jersey-based CareFinders Total Care, for example, provided appreciation pay for all workers in light of COVID-19.

“It’s definitely going to be a financial hit for the company, but I don’t know if we could really go forward as the same company and not do something like this for our team,” Jim Robinson, the company’s CEO, previously told HHCN. “It almost moves out of financial decision-making into, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’”

Meanwhile, in-home care provider Preferred Care Home Health Services supplied over 500 employees across Fort Myers and Naples, Florida, with care packages, according to the Fort Myers News-Press.

Looking ahead, Excel Home Care is focused on the fund distribution rollout.

“We want to try to get the money into the caregiver’s pockets as soon as possible,” Drebes said. “Within the next 30 days, we’re just trying to make sure we have everything all set in place.”

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