Terry Bratcher, founder of TLC Home Healthcare, offered us an inside look into the sacrifices, hard work, and determination it takes launching a home health care business.
Becoming a registered nurse, I worked in home health for many years, became a director of nursing, and then decided to open my own agency. We started our female-owned business in 2008 beginning with home health care in Carlsbad and in-home services in Rolla, Missouri. TLC is locally owned and is operated by a staff that has a wide range of expertise ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics.
I grew up in Eddy County, graduated from high school in Carlsbad, and went to nursing school at NMSU in Carlsbad. At first, it was hard working for the hospital 8 to 12 hours per day along with starting a new business and taking care of the home health patients. It was difficult working two full-time jobs and only receiving a salary for one. Initially, new home health care businesses don’t get paid to take patients. They must wait until they receive a survey to prove they are able to adhere to all the regulations and take care of the patients using their service. We could not bill for the service until we received our survey and passed. Let me tell you, it was tough!
As of today, we have been in business for 12 years. TLC Home Healthcare is CHAP accredited, that means we have more stringent regulations to adhere to, more so than other agencies which are accredited by the state. We not only do home health but also hospice, caring for patients of all ages from newborns to geriatrics along with private pay and VA nursing.
Not liking the big corporations, who many times choose to care more about their profits than the health of their patients, gave us purpose and a goal to do better. So a group of RN’s and LPN’s with a combined 75 years of experience decided to start our own home health agency. Doing this enabled us to care for the patients the way we knew they should be cared for and deserved. Patient care is the most important part of our job. Once you are a patient of ours, you are no longer just a patient; you are part of our family. Home care from the heart is what makes us unique. We are their advocates, we are their voices when they have no one and need help.
Taking care of people is what we do and that is where our passion lies. Commitment to our community and supporting as many athletes as we can brings us deep satisfaction. Supporting the athletes in Carlsbad (Cavemen football, baseball, softball) and the dance organizations in town bonds us to our community. We also support a few of Carlsbad’s motocross riders. Those young men and women work diligently to compete in races at the motocross track right here in Carlsbad. And finally, supporting Class Act every year is another way to keep our kids safe on one of the biggest nights of their lives.
If you want to start your own agency, I would advise you to work for a home health agency first and become familiar with all the ins and outs before attempting it on your own. It is very difficult to get an agency started, but if you really want it and have a passion for helping others, as we do, you can do it.