As President Obama starts his second-term in office, one of his first term’s biggest accomplishments, the Affordable Care Act, still faces opposition from business owners, particularly franchise owners. A study conducted by the International Franchise Association shows 30% of franchisees plan to cut jobs, and 72% of franchisees say their long-term planning has been negatively affected by the new legislation. But some franchises are finding ways to profit from the Affordable Care Act.
Allen Hager, CEO of Right at Home, says, “There is a significant opportunity for our kind of business…one thing that isn’t talked about is restructuring of care for more efficiency. The elderly group uses a lot of resources. My company monitors their home environment so they use less health care resources.” Right at Home is an in-home service for the elderly and disabled. The company started franchising in 2000 and recently hit the $1 billion revenue mark. It currently operates 250 franchises in the U.S. and also has operations in Canada, the United Kingdom, China, and Brazil Under the Affordable Care Act hospitals will be penalized for patients who are readmitted within a 30-day period. Studies show two million Medicare recipients are readmitted within 30 days of release each year, costing Medicare $17.5 billion in additional hospital bills. Right at Home began a program that will reduce the number of hospital readmissions by providing at-home care to recently discharged patients. “We piloted a program with a health system in North Carolina and we found if you target Medicare patients as they are discharged and provide the medical services that Right at Home provides -- look at their nutrition, medications -- you can reduce costs,” Hager said. Hager says the North Carolina health system Right at Home partnered with saw $1 million in savings within a year through the partnership and he is now pushing it across the United States. The hospital pays for the services Right at Home provides to discharged patients. Hager called this a “win-win for the hospitals that are not getting the readmission penalties and for Medicare overall because fewer services are provided.” Hager is expecting “Right at Home” to double in size within five years and estimates he will hire an additional 10,000 employees.
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