This is a true story… All included screen shots are from content posted as of 7/30/14 5:49 EST or previously posted online and since removed.
Background: Three months ago, end of April, 2014 I received a direct message through LinkedIn from Penrose Senior Care Auditors. Since the message came from a member of a group we belong to I opened and read the message. Of course, in it was a link to their website which presented their senior care auditor service. See screenshot below.
I read their entire website and thought the auditing service was a good idea, but I had a different vision of how the service could be more thoroughly developed as well as a business model that I knew was more efficient, less expensive and better suited CertifiedCare’s culture.
At that time, Penrose Senior Care Auditors was stating that they employed individuals to provide auditing services with no personal care. The Penrose website pointed out that their auditors were “bonded employees and not independent contractors”. They included a free 1 hour training program to their employees and provided a certificate at the end of it before sending their senior care auditors out into the field. The founder and owner, Rhonda Harper, identified herself as having a background in home care and explained that is what gave her the idea to create the auditing service.
The senior care auditor service was a good idea but to do it properly we knew that auditors deserved more than an hours worth of training. We realized that the education we could develop for it would make a natural tie into our accredited 76 hour education and certification programs. We also realized that because of that expertise our senior care auditors would be able and encouraged to provide personal care services in addition to auditing if they wished. It was a natural extension of our education programs and a service we could offer to our graduates to help them start and grow their own senior care businesses.
We were very excited to launch this new certification program because the work of Senior Care Auditors was very important to the safety of elders but we thought elders should be able to receive more than just an audit for their money. They should be able to have their problems discovered from the audit and immediately addressed, when possible.
We spent about a month (in 12 hour meetings per day) talking about a business model that suited our type of business and our way of doing things. We spent over 2 months writing the 138 page certification program (the only published and copyrighted work on the topic) which teaches what a Senior Care Auditor does, how to provide the service, and how to build a senior care auditor business that is connected to the CertifiedCare Referral network. This new certification program would be the fifth Dr. Carr has written, and would be the last a student of CertifiedCare could take, only after having completed the previous four accredited programs (that we have been providing for the last five years to the long term care community.)
CertifiedCare programs are designed to be taken in a certain order, with concepts, skills and techniques building upon those found in the prerequisite programs. We know that, whether or not you plan to provide personal care services, you need to know the proper way to perform personal care in order to critique another’s personal care service. That is why our personal care aide education is so important to the Senior Care Auditor curriculum.
We engaged a programmer to create the new website to serve this new service division of our company. It was designed to serve both clients and CertifiedCare Senior Care Auditors. Eventually it all came together at CertifiedCareAuditor.com.
On July 10, 2014 we sent out a few informational blog posts letting people know what a senior care auditor was and what the service provides. This was done as part of our market survey to see if those already in the long term care field would have an interest in providing this new service. Of course, the blog posts linked to CertifiedCare.org where our certification programs are located.
We received lots of questions and good feedback from people. Most people were asking for more information about job opportunities and employers of Senior Care Auditors so, we wrote another blog post pointing out the three ways to make a living as a Senior Care Auditor. We respectfully listed Penrose first, mentioning that the service was their idea, and listed how they operated (at that time) as an employer of Senior Care Auditors and that they were a good option for those looking for a job; second, we listed our business details and how auditors can benefit from getting certified through us and working with our referral service. Last we mentioned that auditors can work in their own business also with the help of our referral network.
A reader even commented (see screenshot below) “Penrose, whom you so graciously mentioned, seems to thing that their 2 hour training for new employees is sufficient. I have no doubt that the training you provide is a lot more comprehensive…”
Go to the below link for the complete comment.
Once our market research was complete we loaded the new Senior Care Auditor CertifiedCare certification program on the CertifiedCare.org website on July 14th. The CertifiedCare Senior Care Auditor certification program is written in three sections, with section 3 going into great detail about the marketing support and business building tools CertifiedCare provides to help their auditors grow their own business.
Here’s where the story gets exciting…
We received our very first senior care auditor student on July 19, 2014. Imagine our delight and surprise since we had not really launched yet. Here is a screenshot of their order receipt. Notice the billing address on the left of the receipt is Penrose (this was a detail my team missed at first).
As soon as the student registered they went straight to the auditor program bypassing all of the prerequisite programs and immediately took the test. They failed the test and then accessed it again but never completed the test. Here is a screenshot of their test results.
This unusual behavior came to the attention of our Administrative Director who immediately emailed the student notifying them that prerequisites are required and that it is strongly recommended that they read the material before trying to take the exams. The student was told that no certificates would be issued to them until they meet the prerequisites and they will be listed in the CertifiedCare Registry as “Not in Good Standing” until they met the requirements. Here is a screenshot of the Penrose students listing on the CertifiedCare Registry.
The Penrose student never responded and never tried to access the prerequisite programs so our Administrative Director pulled up the students billing information and realized their billing address was Penrose’s company address. Here is a screenshot of their billing information.
That is when we knew Penrose was our very first student. Two days later on July 20, 2014 Penrose posted on their Facebook Page the following announcement:
And we knew then that Penrose had completely copied our idea and stolen our copyright protected materials. They were now providing a Senior Care Auditor certification program.
They went on to lie in their publication stating that “You can’t simply buy a certification from us like you can on some sites, you must earn it. So, we accept only the most qualified candidates. When you hire a PenroseCertified Senior Care Auditor, you are hiring the best from the creator of the category, not some imitator” (see screenshot above).
Penrose could not even pass our certification programs.
They received no certifications from CertifiedCare.
They are listed as “Not in Good Standing” in the CertifiedCare Registry.
What can they teach their PenroseCertified auditors?
We then decided to investigate Penrose’s registered trademark which you can view at http://www.trademarks411.com/marks/86190134-penrose-senior-care-auditors. See screenshot below. Their trademark states that the goods and services they provide are “In-home support services to senior persons, namely, geriatric care management services in the nature of the coordination of necessary services and personal care for older individuals”. But their FAQs page suggests the only service they provide is auditing. Further, how can they provide the coordination of necessary services for that purpose, with no accredited training about how to do it? But, again, there’s more…
Their “Goods and Services” are also inaccurate since their auditors do not provide any personal care services whatsoever and are simply certified from Rhonda’s 1 hour course in “Senior Care Auditing” and nothing else. On Penrose’s website http://penroseseniorcareauditors.com/helpful-information/faqs they state the services they are willing to provide. Here are those screenshots as of July 30, 2014 (over 5 months from when her trademark was originally registered).
Doesn’t sound like Penrose is doing much more than a checklist, despite claims to the contrary evidenced above.
But wait, there’s more! Penrose then created a wordpress website stating that “Only the PenroseCertified Senior Care Auditor Certification Program requires individuals pass criminal background checks, drug screening, reference checks and the certification program exam”.
That is curious considering the fact that CertifiedCare has a 10+ point background check (multi jurisdictional criminal check, result verification, federal, state, county, wants and warrants, sex offender, terrorists, reference verification, driving record, drug screening and more), requires auditors to have training above a high school diploma, at least 2 years providing senior care services and requires auditors to complete 85 hours of complete personal care aide and senior care auditing education before they can even apply to be accepted in our CertifiedCare Senior Care Auditors network. Our Senior Care auditor education, certification and referral network are designed to help people achieve their goals. For over five years we have helped caregivers improve their lives and the lives of those they care for. It is what we do with sincerity and integrity.
Speaking of integrity, on July 17th Penrose posted the following on their Facebook page:
While on the Penrose Certified Apply Now page which you can view at this link http://www.penrosecertified.com/apply/ Penrose states that their program does costs (and quite a bit more than ours).
Despite all the lies and deceit of Rhonda J. Harper of Penrose Senior Care Auditors and Penrose Certified, we find ourselves being libeled and intentionally misrepresented simply for having built a better business model. Therefore, the old axiom, “no good deed goes unpunished” comes to mind as we recount the story of how the only two Senior Care Auditing companies in the U.S.A. to date, have clashed.
This article was written and submitted by the Executive Director, Administrative Director and Marketing Director of CertifiedCare.