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Episode 25

How to be successful in the growing Home Care Franchise industry with Firstlight Home Care.

Jeff Howell (00:01):

Welcome to home health, 360 a podcast presented by AlayaCare. I’m your host, Jeff Howell. And this is the show about learning from the best in home healthcare from around the globe.

Jeff Howell (00:18):

Hi everyone. And welcome to another edition of home health, 360, where we speak with leaders in home care and home health from across the globe. Today, we have two of the top executives at one of the largest and most successful home care franchises in the United States. Firstlight homecare. We have the vice president of strategy out of Nashville, Tennessee, but in the head office today and Cincinnati with over 20 years of healthcare operations and business development and experience Carrie, Penley welcome to the show.

Kerri Pendley (00:49):

Thank you, Jeff.

Jeff Howell (00:51):

And also out of corporate HQ with over 30 years experience in the franchise world, mostly at ServiceMaster, we have as of a year and a half ago, the president, and as of last month in June, the new CEO Glee McAnanly, wait, McAnanly. did I get that right the second time?

Glee McAnanly (01:12):

You know what, with the first name like Glee, Jeff, I never have to worry about last names, right? So people usually say, is that your real name? Is it a nickname? So then I think that’s their way of covering up. They can’t say my last name either, so don’t worry about it.

Jeff Howell (01:25):

Okay. Well, we’ve officially crowned you as the, a one name brand in home care.

Glee McAnanly (01:30):

There you go. Right? It’s worked really well for some other people in their life. So Glee is good, but it’s McAnanly is what

Jeff Howell (01:38):

It’s McAnanly got it. You got it. Okay. Well, why don’t you guys tell us how long has first light been around and give us a little bit of background on the company.

Glee McAnanly (01:46):

Thanks for letting us be with you today, Jeff. We our privileged to be able to talk about Firstlight home care and actually sold our first franchise in 2010. And since then, we now have a footprint of over 200 franchises across these United States. And just a couple of years ago expanded into a country, I think, you know well, which is Canada

Jeff Howell (02:09):

That’s right. And strictly non-medical what kind of service lines do you guys cover?

Glee McAnanly (02:16):

Well, we started that way, Jeff, but Kerri, I’ll let you talk about a little bit of our metamorphosis and journey as we have traveled down this home care path.

Kerri Pendley (02:26):

Sure. historically Jeff, like most home care organizations, specifically franchise home care organizations, our system historically predominantly has been non-medical home care provider with private pay and VA. However over the past three years, I’ve been with, with Firstlight going on five years. And specifically the past three years, we have been ultra focused on more of our third party payer opportunities. Examples of that would be Medicare advantage workers, comp, employee assistance programs, private contracts, et cetera. So with the focus and we can talk more to about, especially, you know, where the industry is now, where it’s going, you know, everything that’s derived from the pandemic. We absolutely are kind of having like a shift if you will, in our system around because doing private pay model is vastly different than third party payer models. So combining and mirroring the two along with education and support for our franchisees.

Kerri Pendley (03:31):

So we’re definitely focused on growing the third party payer opportunities. And along with that again, historically been non-medical. However, we, over the past couple of years have put a lot of additional resources into focusing on providing skilled nursing services and case management as well. And so we, that is a current focus. It is a strategy strategic plan of ours. And we brought on some additional resources, like I said, to help with that plan. And when I say skilled nursing, Jeff, I’m talking about what’s generally referred to as private duty skilled nursing. So it’s gonna be non-Medicare certified nursing and in the state’s licensure allows us to do that.

Jeff Howell (04:12):

Got it. That was gonna be my next question.

Kerri Pendley (04:15):

So that’s where we are today and where we continue to expand. And again, we can talk about, but the pandemic has just opened up a lot of opportunities actually.

Jeff Howell (04:25):

Oh, for sure. So out, out of those third parties, what would you say is the biggest bucket for you guys right now?

Kerri Pendley (04:31):

Well, VA obviously being a third party payer is the largest, third party payer bucket that we are in. But yeah, we actually the worker’s comp is second and with Medicare advantage coming up, right. Third, along with that, but really Jeff that’s system wide, it’s gonna, it can be very market specific too, depending on which contracts, which third party contracts we have in place in, in specific markets.

Jeff Howell (04:55):

Yeah. So I counted about 40 awards on your website. What’s the secret sauce on creating such an award-winning company?

Glee McAnanly (05:04):

Well two words I would say, and that is our motto around here, which is franchisee first. We firmly believe that our franchisee should be able to focus on caregivers and clients and being part of a franchise system that really enables us to do everything in the background that will help support franchisees. And so I’ve kind of had a unique experience. You mentioned Jeff at the top that I’d spent a number of years at a company called ServiceMaster. My husband and I owned franchises in the service business where you cross the threshold into people’s homes in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. And home care to me is similar in the fact that we take care of people so that they can age in place at, at their home and having been a franchisee. I totally understand what a good franchisor looks like and what, what we need as a franchisee from our franchisor.

Glee McAnanly (06:00):

And then I’ve also spent at least 12 years on the franchisor side. And so I always say, I have a franchisee heart, but a franchisor head. And what I mean by that is I will look at things. And even if it’s only affecting 10 franchisees in the marketplace, to me, that is something that we as a franchisor need to be paying attention to, and really may need to build some process around or, or look at a strategy a little differently. So I just have a, a real passion of being in the service business and home care fits into that. And we have really looked for franchisees to join our system that have that same passion, a culture of care for both their caregivers and their clients. So we also have been very fortunate from our inception with bill and burner who founded our company and had invested money so that we wouldn’t have to be worried about which franchisees we brought on board first. So we’ve been slow and steady in our growth and have been very intentional of who we have selected to partner with in the different marketplaces to become franchisees. So I would say that’s our secret sauce is franchisee first and being very intentional with figuring out the best people to represent first light home care in their communities.

Jeff Howell (07:22):

Kerri, do you have anything to add?

Kerri Pendley (07:24):

No, I would. Other than yes, actually actually Jeff, yes, I would.

Glee McAnanly (07:28):

I always have something. I was gonna say, Kerri, of course you have something to add. You usually do.

Kerri Pendley (07:33):

I know, I knew she was going to say that I, I generally always have something to add. Jeff, you do. You do. No. And I think also again, like I said, I’m just going on my fifth year with first light, but when you talk about the secret sauce and glees talking about franchisee first, really, that is what we, we are living, breathing and speaking at the, the franchiser or the corporate level. And so I personally coming from, I’ve been in this industry for over 20 years, like you said, but first light is my first experience with franchising. So I, when you talk about the awards and stuff, and I’m hearing what Glee’s saying, I can echo that, but it’s been very personally rewarding for me being a part of a franchise system. And, and the awards I will say are very well deserved, but, but seeing what truly a franchise system can bring to a, a person and their family around where they wanna go as a business owner and especially in this wonderful industry that I love so much, which is home care. So

Jeff Howell (08:34):

Well, that’s a good segue. I was on your website and you have this really nice interactive map of the us on your website. Can you elaborate on some of the opportunities the markets that you have in the us that are still you know, very attractive?

Glee McAnanly (08:50):

Well, yes, cuz we are looking for the right people always to join our system. A couple areas, Chicagoland Phoenix, I think people know Phoenix is an attractive marketplace for retired individuals. And since that seems to be a market that is attracted by home care, that’s always a good place to be along with Southeast Florida Southern California, Northeast, Texas, we are actually looking to expand in and one of the most beautiful states in the world, we would love to have a franchisee in Vermont and my background my whole family is from Montana. Now I know you’re gonna say there aren’t enough people there, but there really are. And I would love to have a franchise in Montana so that I can go visit them. And I probably have some family members that as they age could probably use some of that service. So those are some of the top marketplaces, but as Kerri mentioned earlier, mm-hmm with more mature home care franchises that are out there. We really do serve more restricted territories. And so we are blessed that we have some great territories that are still available for franchisees to join our team.

Jeff Howell (09:59):

And what goes into defining a territory?

Glee McAnanly (10:03):

Well generally people, that’s why sometimes people don’t think Montana’s a great place, but we’ve got, we’ve got room. Our general territory is built around a minimum of 250,000 in the population with the minimum of 10% seniors. And then what we look at is income level as well. And we both look at average as well as median. Okay. And as you said, we’ve got interactive maps and when we’re sitting down with people that are looking to invest in first life home care, we’ve got all of those maps that are predefined. So we’ve got territories that they can look at that shows our availability and also shows them all of the demographics as they’re looking at it.

Kerri Pendley (10:45):

Yeah. When we talk about the opportunity for expansion that we have too related to, you know, if you’re a person looking at franchise system for home care, I mentioned the skilled nursing earlier, Jeff. So again, we’re seeing more and more individuals that have been in the healthcare arena or field, but are ready to come out and own their own business. So those type individuals specifically are often interested in offering skilled nursing services from inception of their business. And not every system will allow you to do that or is able to support you in doing that from inception. So that’s where we’ve also, again, when I mentioned we’ve put a lot of resources and time over the last couple of years to develop the skilled nursing support and training. That’s where we see that being an opportunity for expansion too.

Jeff Howell (11:34):

Right. And it like, it seems to me that it’s just the natural cycle of things that you get into non-medical home care, cuz it’s the easiest way to get into the business. Then you want to grow it. Usually the easiest way to grow is to get a franchise model. And so you, the franchises of the industry are predominantly non-medical home care and it’s almost like you need to get to a certain size and scale, correct. To have the ability to support getting into these other payers and and other service lines.

Kerri Pendley (12:05):

Correct. And that is typically what you see. However, again, depending, so if you’re someone who’s worked in the middle, we’re seeing, for example, we’ve got some recent franchisees that as are actually nurse practitioners themselves or were hospital administrators for years and things like that. Right? So again, those individuals, it is very interesting because skilled nursing is an opportunity they would sometimes like to pursue from the beginning of their business

Glee McAnanly (12:29):

And they watch the change in home care over time. And you know, one thing we say here now, Jeff, at first light home care is not now if there’s an area that we wanna get into as far as service in that skilled nursing that Kerri refers to because we used to say never, we would never do this. And I think one of the things the pandemic has taught us is that everything changes and it may change quickly. And so you really need to be thinking about different areas that we can service adjacencies to what we are presently servicing in the marketplace. And if we just don’t have time to put the strategy in the thinking power against that, we say not now. So we’ve taken that word never out of our, out of our vocabulary.

Jeff Howell (13:17):

Yeah. Never say never,

Glee McAnanly (13:19):

Never say never. And yet we say it a lot.

Jeff Howell (13:22):

speaking of pivoting and the pandemic, what are some ways that some changes that you guys have had to make during the pandemic?

Glee McAnanly (13:31):

Well, you know, LA March of 2020 happened pretty quickly in hindsight, when you think about, I actually was on a plane from Las Vegas to back home, I lived in Memphis at the time and I remember being in the airport and we were all glued to televisions as we were watching, you know, flight start to cancel. And, you know, as soon as I got home, it just started shutting down very quickly. And first flight home care, as soon as that happened, you know, we are treating people’s moms and dads in their homes and we’re watching the news with what’s happening in facilities and things. And that was the beauty to me as being a franchisor at that point in time, first light was able to start daily phone calls. And I don’t think anybody knew what, well, there wasn’t a PPP at that point in time.

Glee McAnanly (14:25):

Right? Mm-hmm but the payroll protection program became extremely important and, and it changed daily on the government websites. And so we had legal people looking at those things and franchisees, Hey, we had our best attendance on franchisee phone calls during the pandemic, you know, because they really needed help. And then you’re trying to figure out PPE. And so you’re trying to figure out the, the initials that go back and forth, but you know, personal protection equipment. And I want somebody to say those words and those phrases three times quickly and make sure they get ’em correctly. And then you go into the E R TC, the employee retention tax credit and business as a franchisee became very complicated. How do we keep care caregivers wanting to work in that environment? And one of the things that we were able to stock up on was hand sanitizer.

Glee McAnanly (15:20):

And so just as a little advertisement, we have a lot of hand sanitizer now and some that’s about ready to expire. So anyone who is listening on this podcast, we will happily send you some of our hand sanitizer because we, we were able to still get that. And so that happened on the franchise or side, but Kerri, you, you and your team were working on how do we equip our franchisees to be able to really work with our clients and our caregivers. So why don’t you tell what we were doing in that aspect?

Kerri Pendley (15:52):

Right. So same as Glee, you know, was explaining it. It does seem like it really was overnight, but we had to, as far as our delivery of care, we had to immediately completely regroup revamp and almost on a daily, if not a weekly basis, for sure. Revisit the way we’re delivering services and all operational processes. And so it just completely was a shift in operational all operational aspects. Right. whether you’re a franchisee or not just period being in the industry. Yeah. So that was, and, obviously as Glee said, part of my team is our clinical and compliance team. So it was daily CDC monitoring. I mean, just all hands on deck to support in any way we could and keeping up with the, the everyday shift in information and change in information and things like that. So the delivery of care model, I mean, obviously, and operationally just complete shift.

Kerri Pendley (16:52):

The other part of that though, as Glee mentioned, our national accounts department which is national accounts team, which is in my department as well. It was amazing because again, I think all of us now have learned, right? We can do where before it was these account meetings or you know, presentations, everything had to be done in person. So immediately overnight, now we become best friends with zoom or whatever platform you were using. But it, we completely had to start looking at our national account opportunities differently too. Like now all of a sudden COVID testing is a service opportunity, especially if you have nurses in some area, you know, and what that looked like. So I say, you know, I’m very cautious in saying this, but if there ever was a silver lining, I’m gonna say that we view in, in the review mirror of the pandemic and what we went through with the especially the peak of it, it was that there were opportunities brought for our franchisees and our system in general that we had never seen before.

Kerri Pendley (17:56):

And it’s also allowed again, you know, me, I’ve had these conversations for years and years with trying to talk to post acute partners and collaborating in the communities in nationwide that, that now since the pandemic, not that it wasn’t happening before, but since, you know, the pandemic, those conversations are highlighted and of importance. And there seems to be more effort in our industry for the collaboration and truly whatever we can do to develop models, to allow individuals to remain in their home. So again, when you talk about pivoting, there was a lot of pivoting that went on, but I also see that it pivoted to some opportunities as well, if that makes sense.

Jeff Howell (18:40):

Yeah, sure. Well, I love the, the idea of you saying like the COVID testing, it’s an opportunity, right? So every problem has opportunities within it,

Glee McAnanly (18:50):

So true mm-hmm

Kerri Pendley (18:52):

Staffing opportunities. So for, you know, organizations, home care organizations that will do staffing or staffing contracts that became heightened also during the pandemic.

Jeff Howell (19:03):

Well, on that topic, you know, caregiver, recruitment and retention is a challenge in the best of times, what are your thoughts on, you know, how’s the industry best able to, to tackle this issue? Just a small, tiny little question.

Kerri Pendley (19:17):

If we had the answer to that, , you know, we would be on vacation, our yachts and ,

Jeff Howell (19:22):

We’d be doing this podcast from The Bahamas

Kerri Pendley (19:25):

We would Jeff, we would,

Glee McAnanly (19:27):

Yeah, exactly. We’re wrestling with it, just like everybody else is we had a phone call yesterday with our national advisory committee, which is made up of 15 franchisees from around the country. And we spent a significant amount of time talking about, you know, what does, what does recruitment and retention look like today? And we have been trying to just add to the way we have been doing recruiting and retention. And as we talked yesterday, we said, you know what? We need to whiteboard this entire process. We’ve gotta rethink what recruiting and retention looks like in this environment and just start all over. And so it’s a project that we’ve been talking about for the last couple of months. It’s gonna take us through the end of 20, 23. But as soon as we’ve got that, you know, nailed boy, we’re gonna be off on those yachts. Right. Kerri cuz we’ll have solved recruiting and retention. Mm-Hmm ,

Jeff Howell (20:20):

Glee McAnanly (20:22):

We don’t have a good answer for you on that. It’s it’s a struggle. We know it we’ve acknowledged it. And we just have to really, like I said, rethink it. And I think it comes down to training as well though. I think we have to find, you know, where are we gonna look for caregivers? And what does that training look like? And just hiring anybody in this day and age has become a challenge. And we have, have found, we’ve gotta get to ’em quicker and we’ve gotta ask more about them and tell them less about us. And so we’re just looking at that entire strategy and rethinking it. But if you’d like to help us with that, Jeff we’re, we’re looking for great partners that could

Jeff Howell (21:02):

Help. Oh, I was waiting for you to ask me what my all my answers are. when I ran into you, both in Chicago for the home healthcare news conference, there were a couple things that I thought were pretty interesting that, that I took away. Yes, mm-hmm one was the company that condensed the hiring process down from days down to hours for hiring caregivers. I thought that was really interesting. Maybe hours is maybe even a little bit too quick. I don’t know what, what steps they’re taking, but just sort of with no code tools these days and just the way that technology can work with automations that I thought that was really interesting is really condensing and taking out all of the friction in the application process to start with. And the other thing that I was surprised by was Helen at care academy was saying how there were 80,000 people that applied for nursing school last year that got turned away because all of the trainers went off to become travel nurses. right. And it’s like, you know, she has a program where the, the caregivers can level up and you know, move into nursing degrees by getting credits and kind of moving. And I thought that was really interesting, sort of creating a, a, like caring for the caregiver and creating a career path.

Glee McAnanly (22:25):

Mm-Hmm I agree.

Jeff Howell (22:27):

Well, let’s shift gears here. What is a trend in the industry that is under the radar screen and not enough people are talking about it?

Glee McAnanly (22:36):

Well, I think Kerri kind of talked about that in one of your kept questions before with the third party payer Medicare advantage, but Kerri, you, you kind of talked about how difficult sometimes it is to, to do Medicare advantage. And as a franchisor Carrie’s team has really helped our franchisees be able to sign up for different programs, helped them understand what third party payer contracts look like and how to really work, I think better in that arena. But Kerri, you’re certainly more an expert on that arena, right.

Kerri Pendley (23:10):

In, in regards to Medicare advantage too, I would say under the radar, eh, no, not really. Maybe depending on who you’re talking to under utilized and, and just for the reasons glee mentioned. Yes. And especially when you’re talking home care versus home health. So when you’re talking about the personal care piece of it you know, it is, we’ve all been what I said. I was so excited, you know, when finally there’s the opportunity. I’ve, you know, been one of those people that’s gone to DC for advocacy work for years, for many home and community community based programs. But, but so yes, it seemed like a, you know, a small victory, at least when Medicare advantage did allow personal care to be covered in their supplemental benefits. However, I, I often refer to it like this. It is what it is. It was like barely dipping your toe in the water.

Kerri Pendley (24:01):

So these contracts or these opportunities around Medicare advantage came with very operational obstacles in play. So for example, and I know Jeff, you’ve probably heard it on many of your podcast or just in the industry meetings and conferences, but it’s, you know, rolling the contracts out and the opportunities, what you typically saw were very, very short visits. So two hour visits in some regards and lower pay rates, reimbursement rates than necessarily definitely less than private pay and even VA in, in most or some areas. So when you’re looking at a limited pool of employees and yet you’re looking at reimbursement that that’s low, it doesn’t make it very appealing from a business decision. Even though these individuals, you know, need care, it’s you gotta start making business decisions around your employee and what resources you have. So I am, you know, glad we immediately wanted to seize the opportunity.

Kerri Pendley (25:06):

We did, you know, work with our franchisees to understand the it’s the long game. This isn’t a short game. So for those of you that wanna do the long game, we are here to support you. We will, you know, work with you and help you understand and, and deliver well on Medicare advantage as well as other third party payers. However, I will say that in the contracts we have in place, the current Medicare advantage contracts over the three years, we have seen things such as more flexibility, I’m gonna say in the way that the services are prescribed. So maybe instead of saying you have two hour visits that you get 31 of those a month, it is more flexible into here’s what’s available, use it, how you need to. Now that’s, that’s very few plans that are, are looking at that. But the other thing we are starting to see some pay some rate increases and especially if you’re a provider of, of choice.

Kerri Pendley (26:01):

So, you know, we have several nor numerous offices that in their markets are absolutely a provider of choice. So in leveraging that, that payer, that health plan or third party administrator for the health plan is willing to pay a little more because your fulfillment rate is better. You’re making sure those individuals get taken care of. So definitely Medicare advantage under the radar. Not necessarily people are definitely talking about it, but it’s the utilization of it that that maybe is, is not where obviously where we want it to be. And it’s because of the operational issues and the reimbursement issues and things like

Glee McAnanly (26:35):

That. Got it. Well, and I’d also say Kerri, at first sight home care, I think that this is a great area for us and we’re leaning into it because it’s a franchisor in a franchise system with these third party payers, they’re looking for footprint coverage. And so we can provide standard service that they can expect over a large footprint, which makes it much easier for these third party payers. And so that’s one of the areas that we’ve got Kerri’s team, as well as our operations team. We’ve got a whole team out there. That Mark Venos leads with business coaches that work with our franchisees in individual markets. And so as we look at some of these opportunities, we then go in and actually work with that franchisee to really help ’em understand the benefits of some of these programs to them.

Kerri Pendley (27:24):

And it’s also like anything else in order to advocate for, you know, flexibility, increased rates, it’s all gonna depend on, you gotta have outcomes, right? So that’s where, you know, technology playing into that, Jeff, which you’re all too familiar with. But we, we need to show health plans. We need to show third party payers utilizing our services. Here’s how this, you know, reduces hospitalizations. Here’s how this, you know, we can track changing condition. This is how you just metrics anyway around that and the cost savings around that. So that’s where also as an industry, and again, I’m preaching to the choir here, you know, this, but in the historically home care, the non-medical side of the industry, hasn’t been necessarily phenomenal by any means about true data and metrics and outcomes. And that’s where I think we have to focus and we have to be there and we have to be able to provide that information and that’s gonna be through technology systems.

Jeff Howell (28:20):

And I think the number is something like a third of home care agencies. Aren’t doing any kind of reporting at all. Mm-Hmm . So from FAP funding to self-directed care, to value based, pay Medicare advantage industry consolidation and, and technological advancements. If you guys had to say, what are your thoughts on the one trend that would actually probably carry the biggest impact in the industry over the next three to four years? What do you think that might be?

Glee McAnanly (28:48):

I think you just answered your own question, Jeff

Jeff Howell (28:51):

Glee McAnanly (28:52):

With your comment at the end of the last one

Kerri Pendley (28:54):

yeah, I think you did. It’s, it’s, we’ve gotta have metrics and outcomes to report on our service services that we provide in the industry. And, and again, technology is, is what gets us there

Glee McAnanly (29:06):

And we’ve gotta show the benefit of keeping someone at home and what we can do there.

Jeff Howell (29:11):

Yeah, that’s right. And everyone does prefer to not only age in place, but the pandemic has put this enormous spotlight on home care. The silver lining, as you say, Kerri is, is, there’s probably the brand awareness of home care went from zero to 60 pretty quickly over the course of the pandemic

Kerri Pendley (29:31):

Well said.

Glee McAnanly (29:32):

And I think that the metrics and technology are gonna help us be able to really tell the story better of why someone does better coming home and being able to be there after a hip replacement, rather than going somewhere else to be able to, to do the rehab, you know, we kid around and I’m gonna do a shout out because I’m certainly hoping that Mr. Pendley will listen to this podcast with his daughter on it. But we have Mr. Pendley, who is our case study for a number of situations because although care has been in this industry for over 20 years when she now is trying to work with her dad and find care for him in different situations, she’s looking at from a completely different perspective as someone that needs the needs to help provide the care for a loved one, as opposed to being the one that actually provides the care.

Glee McAnanly (30:24):

And when you think about someone being at home and their dog is there with them, and Charlie can sit in on your lap while you’re recovering, that’s really, really important at different times. And it’s like, those are some things that you can’t measure, but if someone’s sitting in the hospital and they’re wondering about their dog and who’s taking care of, you know, their animals at home or their, you know, their cat or whatever animal it is that keeps them company for 24 hours a day. That is that, that is something that I don’t, I don’t think that we’re thinking about sometimes with some of those outcomes.

Jeff Howell (31:02):

Yeah, sure. And I, I think the invention of Medicare advantage is a tip of the cap from the Medicare world to say, you know, like the social determinants of health come from these personal care visits and that’s where everything starts with. So,

Glee McAnanly (31:16):

Right. Yep.

Jeff Howell (31:17):

So it looks like we’re almost up against our time here. I’ll get you guys outta here on this, give us a reason to be optimistic about the future of home care.

Kerri Pendley (31:26):

I would say from my perspective, and I’ve kind of just summarizing what I’ve said throughout our discussion today, but I mean, again, we, me being individual that has been in this industry for quite a while, it’s very optimistic because of the opportunities that we have now. And as, as Glee said, I’m from a personal experience with our, our Mr. Pendley our case study, we’re using for a lot around first light

Glee McAnanly (31:51):

Mm-Hmm , we sure are

Kerri Pendley (31:53):

He trying to assist, you know, and, and for my father personally, to remain in his home, as long as he possibly can, when he lives alone, everything that’s going on in our industry right now, and all the collaboration, all the waivers and movement to allow these models, to help people recover at home, have treatment at home, you know, receive urgent care, mobile, urgent care at home, or whatever that may be. But that, that’s where the future is going, in my opinion. And I’m excited that we have an opportunity to be a part of that. So by far that’s, that’s why I’m so optimistic.

Glee McAnanly (32:29):

Yeah, I am. I am equally optimistic and I’m, I’m sitting here just thinking about the last year and a number of changes that we’ve gone through here at first light home care, and even a partnership that we have been able to create with Matt Paxton, who has a show on PBS called legacy list. And as he has done research on people aging in place, he said, you know, 93% of people that are retired actually move to a smaller home, either in their community or near their kids, they don’t necessarily go to a facility. And so I think with a statistic like that, it is showing that people really do want to be at home. And, you know, I have found myself as the target of a number of our messaging. I am the adult daughter. I’ve got, you know, parents that are aging.

Glee McAnanly (33:27):

They’re, they’re remarkable. They are doing well now, but we know at some point in time, we’re gonna have to think about how we take care of my folks and my mother-in-law’s in an independent facility doing well. But those are questions that I’m facing personally. And I know a number of my friends are, so I know the market is there and I am really excited about franchising in this space because we can take people that have a real heart for the elderly and have a compassion for this kind of work and build a system around it. So we’re all about culture of care. Like I said earlier, you know, we want our franchisees to be able to focus on the clients and caregivers. And you know, Jeff, you asked about recruiting and retention. I think part of our secret sauce is gonna be around the fact that we can really tie someone’s vocation, what they do and work to what their mission or passion is with taking care of people and finding an intersection like that is very rare in your work these days. And something that I’ve been privileged to be able to do almost throughout my whole career and has been something that I’ve looked for. So that would be what I think is very exciting about the home care business is we get to take care of people’s moms and dads, and we get to help people that can build a career around passion for helping others.

Jeff Howell (34:56):

And I’ll, I’ll give you a few reasons as well. Some of the things that I’ve learned today love the fact that when you guys were going through the crisis of the pandemic, that you were in a, such a great position to provide that infrastructure and support to your network who desperately needed it at that time. And that you’ve taken this slow and steady approach to building a first light. And now you’ve matured to the stage of looking at different payers and different service lines and helping out folks in different ways. And my, my biggest takeaway from this episode, I loved how you said Glee the having the heart of a franchisee and the head of a franchisor. So I think the future is very bright for first, first light. So thank you to both of you, Kerri, we’re gonna have to work on you having a one name brand in the industry as well. So let’s get moving on that.

Kerri Pendley (35:54):

I know, right.

Jeff Howell (35:56):

And thank you both for being here today.

Kerri Pendley (35:58):

Jeff, thank you so much. Thank you. Jeff

Jeff Howell (36:03):

Home health 360 is presented by AlayaCare. First off, wanna thank our amazing guests and listeners to get more episodes. You can go to that’s spelled home health 360, or search home health 360 on any of your favorite podcasting platforms. The easiest way to stay up to date on our new shows is to subscribe on apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. We also have a newsletter you can sign up for on to get alerts for new shows and more valuable content from AlayaCare right into your inbox. Thanks for listening. And we’ll see you next time.

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Episode Description

Home Care franchises are a growing industry and experts don’t see the expansion slowing down anytime soon! So, what makes the home care franchise industry so successful?

This week, we have two of the top executives from one of the largest and most successful home care franchises in the U.S., Firstlight Home Care. Hear from VP of Strategy, Kerri Pendley, and the Firstlight’s new President Glee McAnanly. Both of our guests highlight the challenges they’ve faced amid the caregiver recruitment and retention shortage, solutions helping them grow their business, insights into FMAP funding and value-based pay, and more!

Episode Resources