- Frequently Asked Questions -
Alzheimer’s Care Houston TX

Here's What We Can Do For Seniors In Houston, TX

Clients, families, executors and advocates seek answers to many questions when considering homecare, and rightfully so. Encore Caregivers understands, welcomes your questions and provides logical, fact-based answers to facilitate decision-making.

Listed are the most frequently asked questions with straightforward answers. Please contact us at 713-568-1684 or email us at: care@encorecaregivers.com for further information.  

What is the difference between a licensed agency and an unlicensed provider?

The State of Texas Department of Health and Human Services has the authority and obligation to ensure that any person or entity engaging in the business of providing home health, hospice or personal assistance services is licensed. Encore Caregivers (License No. 012553) meets or exceeds all required standards and regulations as a Home and Community Support Services Agency (HCSSA). 

Unlicensed providers often refer to themselves as staffing, sitter, or companion agencies. Licensure is required if an entity provides a person to render any type of “hands-on” care (e.g., touching the client, transferring, bathing, assisting with medications, etc.) 
Businesses that only provide workers to prepare meals, perform housekeeping, or other household tasks not involving personal care may operate without a HCSSA license. 

Bottom line: Licensed Agencies are surveyed frequently by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services for compliance with regulations and standards. Higher standards and more supervision equals better care. 

Is it more expensive to engage a licensed agency than to hire my own caregiver?

Yes, if you are referring to initial out-of-pocket expenses. However, both the tangible and intangible benefits of engaging a licensed agency justify any additional costs. If you hire caregivers yourself, you are the employer and as such you are responsible for not only their wages but also for some things that you perhaps haven’t thought about:
  • Paying all federal and state payroll taxes (Medicare, FICA, and unemployment taxes – at least 10% of wages)
  • Worker’s compensation insurance (10% of wages)
  • Depositing payroll deductions
  • Filing quarterly and annual state and federal payroll tax reports
  • Complying with federal immigration hiring laws as well as a host of other employment laws
  • Recruiting, hiring and firing employees
  • Scheduling employees and then rescheduling employees when the first are late, sick or need time off
We have encountered cases where families or executors hired their own caregivers and chose to consider the employee an “independent contractor” - thereby ignoring payroll taxes or work-related accident insurance. Typically, this becomes a serious issue when the employee is terminated and subsequently files an unemployment claim. 
This sets in motion a state and federal payroll tax audit resulting in a claim against the employer (the family in this case) wherein the family is required to pay both accrued employee and employer payroll taxes from the date of hire, plus accrued employee and employer payroll taxes for all other employees, plus penalties and interest.

The same problem results if the family chooses to ignore worker’s compensation insurance or accident related insurance. Homeowners’ insurance policies specifically exclude work-related accidents. Thousands of dollars in expenses can result from an employee being injured on the job (e.g., a back injury resulting from transferring the client) and then filing a claim with the state, suing the family (employer) and successfully collecting medical expenses, including an allowance for pain and suffering, legal fees and the legal expenses to defend the litigation action.

Encore Caregivers, a Licensed Agency, is the employer of our caregivers and is responsible for all expenses and costs associated with state and federal employment laws, work related injuries, and all other employer obligations. No worries.

How difficult is it to cancel services with Encore Caregivers?

It’s very simple. Services can be canceled prior to the beginning of a caregiver’s scheduled shift, without penalty or charges. Our phones are answered around the clock by an Encore Caregivers’ professional staff member. We are very flexible in our scheduling so most requests can be honored. We understand that events and circumstances may result in disrupted schedules or in a situation in which fewer or additional hours are required. We will comply with your requests to the best of our abilities. We ask only that you provide as much advance notice as possible to minimize the impact on our caregivers.

Note: As a licensed Home and Community Support Service Agency, our clients will sign the “Individual Service Plan and Consent Form” which details the type, frequency, rates and other delivery practices for services requested. No surprises.  

Can my caregiver take me out shopping, to doctor appointments or on other outings?

Of course. You may notify our office that you wish for your caregiver to drive you in your car to your appointments. This is documented by signing the appropriate permission form. If you do not own a car, then your caregiver can drive you in his or her own personal vehicle. You will be billed for the mileage incurred to and from your residence at the rate of $.55 per mile. All of the mileage charges billed to the client are paid to the caregiver.

What happens if I need to go to the hospital and I want a caregiver with me?

No problem. In fact, we provide caregivers for patients in hospitals and other facilities all the time. Your regular caregiver can most likely maintain your typical schedule. In the event additional shifts are requested or a substitute is necessary, Encore Caregivers will make the appropriate arrangements. Our goal is to help you get well and back to your familiar home environment.

How do I contact Encore Caregivers?

We are available to answer any other questions you might have. Simply call us at 713-568-1684 or email us at: care@encorecaregivers.com.

Please stop by for a hot cup of coffee, a cold drink and some of Houston, TX’s best chocolate chip cookies. (No fooling; come try them yourself!)

Encore Caregivers, LLC 
7925 Katy Freeway Suite N, Houston, TX, 77024
(on the south side of I-10, between Antoine and Chimney Rock)

Office Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM – Weekdays
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