There are tons of referral services in the senior care market. Some are massive directories listing every service in a geographic area. Others compile their lists from information easily accessible on the internet.
But the most popular services offering to find a nursing home or assisted living for free. However that free comes with a big price. These “free” referral services get referral fees from facility providers when they make a recommendation. Because their business is based on these referral fees, services like these will often avoid recommending a place for mom unless they pay referral fees. Even if that place provides the best service in the area.
The Inside Story on Referral Fees
A recent report published by the Census Bureau sites a 20% drop in the use of nursing homes in 2014. Simply put, more people are opting to receive care at home rather than in a facility. With decreased demand means there are plenty of empty beds in Assisted Living and Nursing Homes.
To help fill the beds facilities offer referral fees to referral service companies who can recommend clients. If they move in a fee is paid to the referral service that can equal as much as one months rent. That could mean as much as $3500 to the referral service company.
Because this is the way they get paid, referral service companies will often ignore service standards and simply refer to the facility that provides the largest referral fee. Facilities that offer smaller fees or none at all get bumped down on the referral companies list of preferred providers.
Serving Two Masters
So what if the service at the facility is not everything it’s cracked up to be? Don’t go asking your referral service for help. Referral fees are often paid only after the elder moves in and stays for a predetermined length of time. If the facility is giving bad service or over-charges, the referral service often refuses to confront the facility for fear of losing their service.
There is a better way
The referral service fee is the reason we started Sherpa Certified. We don’t accept listing or referral fees. Our Senior Care Sherpa’s only recommend services that meet a high standard of customer service and industry best practices. When we recommend services it’s because they are the best in the area, not because we got paid to say they are the best.
It’s a better way to refer a curated, trusted, secure and safe service to our clients.
For more information on our list of Sherpa Certified providers, please contact us in the form below.