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In-Home Health Care Services Inc.
Traverse City, MI
Scheduling took at least 20 hours a week to complete using an Excel spreadsheet, while processing billing and payroll from manual time tracking demanded nearly a full-time contract accountant. Office staff were consumed with calls from employees and clients.
- Reduced postage and mailing costs by $10,000 a year
- Realized a payback on its investment in just nine months
- Increased the quality of its workforce and the quality of client care
- Cut the amount spent on a contract accountant by $25,000 a year
In 2006, an estimated 18 million people received home health care in the United States alone. Through 2011, the numbers of home care patients will continue to grow as people live longer.
Based in Traverse City, Michigan, In-Home Health Care Services (IHHCS) has been meeting the growing demand since 1991 with experienced, attentive in-home care. Four office staff and 60 field employees visit clients’ homes as needed, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
As the business grew, IHHCS found employee scheduling and employee attendance increasingly more challenging to manage. Home care worker scheduling took at least 20 hours a week to complete using an Excel spreadsheet, requiring considerable back-and-forth checking to ensure home care staff’s schedules matched with clients’ needs. IHHCS then mailed schedules to employees, leaving little time between when they received schedules and when schedules began. And when clients’ appointments changed, IHHCS had to resend affected schedules.
Home care worker scheduling confusion created frequent staff calls to the office, as well as calls from clients when staff were late or did not show up.
“In this business, every single issue is an emergency issue. We’re talking about getting people taken care of and it’s a very fast-paced environment,”
said Jaime Smith, lead administrator at IHHCS. “Anytime there was a mistake, the phone was ringing off the hook. Our phones were going a hundred miles a minute.”
“We don’t have to go back and forth between spreadsheets, and we know immediately if we’ve missed something.”
Lead Administrator, In-Home Health Care Services Inc.
Employee Scheduling in Half the Time
Charged with finding an employee scheduling and employee attendance solution, Smith evaluated several options. Celayix eTime Xpress stood out as the right combination of functionality and affordability. With eTime Xpress, the business can quickly and easily match employees with client needs, and see any discrepancies. IHHCS also chose to implement Voice Xpress, allowing it to use the telephone for attendance tracking. Health care staff can also call in to hear their schedules. The combination of the two solutions promised to expedite employee scheduling, increase scheduling accuracy and improve employee attendance tracking, as well as actual attendance.
Celayix assisted with the implementation, including customizing eTime Xpress and Voice Xpress to calculate time in 15-minute “units,” rather than in hours. IHHCS also needed to customize the way Celayix displays billing in order to match state format requirements. Celayix dramatically simplified employee scheduling for the administrative staff.
“Celayix has cut our scheduling workload at least in half. We don’t have to go back and forth between spreadsheets and we immediately know if we’ve missed something,” Smith said.
Automated employee scheduling lets staff match employees with client appointments more easily and accurately. The software identifies scheduling conflicts and immediately lets staff know if no one is assigned for a specific client.
With the ease of employee scheduling, IHHCS now creates employee schedules that cover two weeks instead of one. Instead of mailing schedules out, home health care staff can call in each Thursday to the Celayix system to hear their schedules for the coming week. There’s never any confusion or worry whether an employee received a schedule on time. Plus, employees call an automated line, rather than always calling staff with questions—significantly reducing daily calls.
Smith estimates that eliminating mailed weekly schedules saves the business about $10,000 in postage and colored paper every year.
Rock-Solid Employee Attendance Records
Voice Xpress has likewise transformed employee time and attendance. Home health care staff call to clock in from clients’ phones when they arrive and again as they leave, ensuring accurate time tracking. That information is immediately in the Celayix system to support billing and payroll.
It also gives the administrative team an irrefutable record of employee attendance. In cases where clients with dementia claim that an aid was late—who in fact may have been on time— IHHCS has a record of the exact time the employee called in. If an employee does not clock in or calls from another location, the office receives an email alert.
In the first two months of using Celayix, the software assisted the business in reducing tardiness and no-shows, as well as improving the overall accountability of its employees.
“It’s like a nice little GPS tracker for our employees,” Smith said. “Home health care staff that were not being honest about their time or taking advantage of clients were no longer able to do so. With proper time tracking, they either became more accountable, or they are no longer employed with the business.”
As the State of Michigan talks about requiring such employee time and attendance tracking, IHHCS already has its system in place.
Reducing Payroll Outsourcing Costs
When IHHCS brought in Celayix, the business relied on a contract accountant to process billing and its weekly payroll. Manually pulling attendance off time-sheets, and factoring in holiday and overtime pay, was nearly a full-time job.
Celayix gives the business an exact record, with alternative pay automatically factored in, for simplified billing and payroll processing. As a result, the business brought payroll in house and cut in half the amount of work it gave the accountant—effectively saving IHHCS about $25,000 to $30,000 per year.
Payback in Just Nine Months
In hard costs alone, automated employee scheduling, and employee time and attendance tracking save the business $35,000 to $40,000 per year. In the first nine months of using the solution, IHHCS realized a return on its investment. Each subsequent year, the company saves 10 times the cost of its annual support and maintenance costs.That doesn’t even take into consideration the qualitative benefits of the solution.
“Celayix has had a snowball effect,” Smith said. “Clients are happier and getting better care, employees are happier, and administrators are happier. It’s brought a whole new level of consistency and control.”
Instead of two to three people answering phones continuously, now one person is usually sufficient to field incoming calls. Administrative staff use that time to check in with clients, address employee issues, and actually help grow a sister business, Great Lakes Maintenance & Plow Services. For the first time, Great Lakes added summer lawn care, as well as more year-round revenue.