In July 2019, home-based care veteran Kunu Kaushal launched the Independent Home Care Alliance (IHCA) to further unite independent home care agencies nationwide. The effort was somewhat stalled by last year’s pandemic troubles, but the organization is now remodeling with a newfound focus.
Apart from his role as the founder of the IHCA, Kaushal is the founder and CEO of Senior Solutions Home Care. He hopes to differentiate the younger industry organization from its well-established peers by also providing back-end support specifically to independent home care owners and operators.
“A couple years ago, when we were seeing some Uber-of-home-care models touted and launching, we saw that the franchise companies were not at all threatened,” Kaushal told Home Health Care News. “But what we did see was that the independent home care agencies around the country were being really targeted to transform under some of these programs.”
On its end, Brentwood, Tennessee-based Senior Solutions Home Care provides personal care services, transportation solutions and nutrition support to 1,2000 clients in 23 locations across the state.
Kaushal was concerned about aspiring disruptors in home care taking advantage of the more independent, mom-and-pop type agencies. Of the around 25,000 home care agencies in the U.S., 13,000 to 14,000 of those are independent, he said.
His goal is to target the top 5% to 10% of those independent agencies to get on board, which would put the organization’s size at anywhere from 500 to 1,400 agencies.
“I think this really stemmed out of this ideation phase of saying, ‘Well, why can’t we pull some of our resources together as the future becomes tougher and harder?’” Kaushal said.
It’s worth noting that there are plenty of independent organizations that are members of other home-based care associations, both at a state and national level.
Kaushal’s goal, however, is to give this band of — what he considers “underdogs” — a shot at competing with the larger players and growing mostly on their own.
“The fact is, larger organizations do have a leg up,” Kaushal said. “There’s an opportunity here to set up a centralized group to really act as a vendor in the back end, and help these companies just do the basic things like billing, payroll, marketing and communications.”
Kaushal himself has pledged $1.26 million in funding to remodel and repurpose the IHCA into a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) organization. BPO is a method of subcontracting various business-related operations to third-party vendors, which the organizations that joined on would be doing with the IHCA.
IHCA is presenting itself as an alternative option for entrepreneurs as well. IHCA, for instance, hopes to offer franchise-type guidance with the ability to remain independent.
There will be three tiers to IHCA membership, with each requiring a higher fee. The basic membership will cost less than $200 per year, while the higher ones will range from over $1,000 to considerably more for the top-tier membership.
IHCA will have an expert advisory council made up by six to 12 leaders.
Three of those leaders, in addition to Kaushal, have already been named: Glenn Lane, the founder and CEO of New York-based Westchester Family Care; Tina Gillette, the founder and CEO of Arizona-based Senior Home Care of Tucson; and Aaron Stapleton, the founder and CEO of Ohio-based Queen City Homecare.
That list will be growing on a monthly basis in 2021, according to the IHCA.
Additionally, the organization is set to launch the “IHCA Headquarters for Learning,” which is an on-site support system of workshops and boot camps for independent agencies to build up their operations.
“Our personal goal is to really power companies to serve a million lives,” Kaushal said. “And the quickest path to get there is to work together. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel.”