The life of a veteran isn’t necessarily an easy one. Having faced unique challenges in their lifetime, it could get overwhelming to maintain a good quality of life balance. The need for assistance in daily living becomes prominent. For Robin Borders, the inspiration to assist these veterans came from her father, a Korean War veteran. Growing up witnessing his sacrifice to the country and the impact he made, Robin was determined to pass on her father’s story to her kids. Thus, she joined Veterans Home Care, LLC.
Over the span of twelve years, she has up-leveled her responsibilities from a Customer Service Rep to the Vice President of Sales to ensure that the organization’s VetAssist Program stands out in the industry. This program enables the veterans to apply for a little-known Department of Veterans Affairs benefit to pay for assistance with activities of daily living.
For Robin, understanding what’s important to the families is the core of whatever she does. Thus, she leads, trains, motivates and encourages her team to provide the highest quality of care to each and every family. Robin’s commitment to her work has helped countless families find hope and peace of mind in the midst of difficult times.
In this edition of the magazine, we are honored to feature Robin Borders and her incredible work at VHC. Through her dedication and passion, Robin is making a difference in the lives of veterans and their families every day.
Let’s dive in to learn about Robin’s work in enabling veterans with the right to live independently and seek the assistance they deserve.
Source of Inspiration
Robin had been in bar and restaurant sales, her entire career. She owned an equipment sales company. However, she decided to sell her company in the early 2000s after starting a family and realizing that her travel schedule was a lot to juggle. At the same time, she realized that being a stay-at- home mom was not a good fit for her, and thus, she was ready to explore new opportunities.
“I was blessed to already know Bonnie Laiderman, the Founder of the VetAssist Program. I was inspired by her story: she took the idea from her struggles and created a legacy. Who knew that 20 years later, her company would have assisted over 22,000 veteran families? We lost Bonnie earlier this month, but I am privileged to have had the opportunity to continue her story and mission,” says Robin.
Journey So Far
The main thing that resonated with Robin about Bonnie was her passion and compassion for the veteran community. Robin’s father is a Korean War veteran, and as she grew older and curious about his service, she understood the impact he made. He was a tank commander on the front lines, First Marine Division. The things he had to do and what he saw impacted him so greatly. “I gained such an admiration for him. He became my hero. I was determined to pass on the story of his sacrifice to my kids. I wanted them to know and appreciate our country’s veterans and thank them,” says Robin.
“Fast forward to 2011, I approached Bonnie for a job, not realizing at the time that it was the beginning of my fabulous new career. I was hired, but with the caveat that I had to start in the office as a client service specialist. She recognized my potential but insisted I learn her business from bottom to top,” recalls Robin.
Robin thought that the job would be temporary, but once she had started and understood the mission, she had to stay. She wanted to know everything and immersed herself in the rules, regulations, benefits and everything else veteran-related. “The best part was I got to work closely with our clients and their families. I instantly fell in love. I found my calling,” she adds.
Roles and Responsibilities at VHC
“Over my twelve years at VHC, I have been promoted from Customer Service Rep to Regional Manager, to Territory VP, to my current role, Vice President of Sales. My role is to train, mentor, motivate and assist our Regional Managers in the field to become subject matter experts. It’s simple in theory, but complex within the challenges of the home care industry, which has evolved so much since the pandemic,” highlights Robin.
She continues, “My team must understand how our VetAssist Program contributes to the home care industry, learn what sets us apart, and—most importantly—they must intimately understand what’s important to the families we serve.”
“We are one option in a field of many, but realizing that over 22,000 families have trusted our program and received access to what was previously out of reach just shows the magnitude of what we offer. We are a solutions company. We give hope to so many families that were denied access to a basic benefit to which they are entitled. It’s the best job in the world to be in the homes of these families and hear their stories, then be able to offer solutions to help keep them in their homes.”
Providing Access to VA’s Aid and Attendance Benefits
At VHC, the core concept for the last 20 years has been to level the playing field so that more families can access the VA’s Aid and Attendance benefit. “It’s a difficult VA program to navigate. If at all possible, seek help to apply for this pension. It can be done on your own, but it is difficult and complex. We can simplify the process,” emphasizes Robin.
For a claimant to gain access to the entire Aid and Attendance pension, the veteran or widow must demonstrate the amount of recurring medical expenses, which will reduce their income. This qualifies them to take advantage of the monetary benefit to pay for home care with VHC’s program.
“The problem is, many of our families do not or cannot pay down their income on their own while waiting an average of four months for the VA to validate their claim. This is what VHC’s VetAssist Program can offer. Our unique program facilitates home care payments to over 4,500 providers nationwide. We have one of the largest provider networks in the country, and this reach allows us to find qualified care in the home. By providing this at the onset of the application, this opens up access to thousands of families,” explains Robin.
In addition, VHC expanded its VetAssist Program a few years ago to include a voice-activated personal safety device, called VetAssist Companion, with their proprietary program that runs on the Amazon Alexa platform. This new program—hands-on service coupled with electronic monitoring—enhances the care experience and adds value to their clients’ daily lives.
Searching for Cost-Effective Care Solutions
“I am so excited about the future of technology at our company,” says Robin. “We are lucky to have a visionary as our CEO, David Laiderman. He has led us into this tech sector of care. We’re addressing emerging challenges that have been accelerated by the pandemic, such as caregiver shortages and costs that have increased 10% in the last two years.”
She continues, “We are feeling the pinch already, but it will become a larger challenge by 2030 when the entire Baby Boomer population will be over age 65. The industry will need to create over eight million jobs to assist the aging population. We now have over five million Vietnam veterans aging into our program, as well.”
“The VA’s Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) estimates that about $195 billion is spent on supportive care; 59% of it comes from public support programs, about 1% comes from long-term care insurance, and the remaining 40% is paid out of pocket. The CBOC is not even counting the cost of care that is assumed will fall to family and friends, like support for Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs, which include eating, bathing and transport.”
“I am tasked with leading efforts to build and implement a viable and affordable care delivery system for our communities across the country as labor and cost become greater challenges. We have actionable programs that will move us into care combining hands-on safety devices, care calls, video capabilities, and even entertainment value through VetAssist Companion to address isolation and loneliness. All this on a HIPAA-compliant platform,” says Robin.
“VetAssist already helps families access funds and supplement the cost of care. We are again finding ourselves searching for new solutions. The VA benefit can only go so far, and we need real enhanced care for less money so more people can afford it. The affordability problem is one we know we can solve.”
Words of Wisdom
To the budding enthusiasts and entrepreneurs who desire to venture into the healthcare sector, Robin advises, “Think about your own personal journey. What are the obstacles that you have faced? What can you do to simplify processes? Think about your own family and their burdens. The best innovation usually stems from personal stories. Become an expert on the subject, and talk to and surround yourself with those people in the field. I am one of those people that believe that every problem has a solution.”
Scaling 2024 and Beyond
VHC started as an organization serving veterans and their families. “But we will become a senior care solutions company for everyone,” emphasizes Robin. “I am currently in the process of looking at markets across the country for new Regional Managers. We have plans to scale throughout the entire country in the years to come. We know our mission and our solutions will resonate as more people are looking for care. I am excited to be on the cusp of this great innovation.”