Guest: Shelly Sun
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Shelly Sun is the CEO and co-founder of BrightStar Care®, a premium healthcare staffing company providing the full continuum of care, from homecare to supplemental staffing for corporate clients such as nursing homes and physicians. In 2005, BrightStar launched its franchising efforts, becoming the first and only franchising company in the country to specialize in both medical and non-medical care and health care staffing.
Segment overview: Forbes ranks BrightStar Care #1 Home Care franchise. Based in Chicago, BrightStar Care is a national private duty home care and medical staffing franchise with more than 300 locations that can provide medical and non-medical services to clients within their homes, as well as supplemental care staff to corporate clients. BrightStar Care received The Joint Commission’s Enterprise Champion for Quality award in 2013, 2014, and 2015, and is committed to having each of its agencies comply with Joint Commission standards.
Health Professional Radio – BrightStar Care
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. Our guest in studio today for this health supplier segment is Shelly Sun, CEO and Co-founder of Brightstar Care. She is here today to talk with us about Brightstar Care, a national private duty homecare and medical staffing franchise with more than 300 locations than provide medical and non-medical services to clients within their homes. How are you doing today Shelly?
Shelly Sun: I’m doing great, thank you so much.
N: Thank you. Tell us about Brightstar Care, you’re the CEO and Co-founder. When did you found Brightstar?
S: We founded Brightstar back in 2002. My husband and I had actually in late 2001 been helping the family find care for my husband’s grandmother. And she needed a host of services and companionship services just to making her food, making sure she was getting up out of bed, she needed help bathing and she needs a personal care services. And as we got towards the end of her life, we were managing her medications to handle pain management. And so what it meant for us that time, is we were having to deal with 2 or 3 different companies to get us the host of services that she needed. And the other thing that really struck us is we could pay more to have a different seat on an airline, go to a different restaurant, shop at a different store but we couldn’t spend more to have a different higher quality, higher service experience with home care. And in what kind of consumer shopping experience do you want, something at the highest standard, homecare for a loved one – we’re talking about moms and dads and grandma’s and grandpa’s. So in 2002 when we started Brightstar in memory of my husband’s grandmother, grandma Pat, to really provide to families what we had been looking for ourselves.
N: Now you say you could not even pay more money to get a one-stop-shop experience, you can’t even find that right?
S: We could not find that. All of the companies that we were dealing with, really had focused on being low price. And if you’re low price you can’t be high quality or high service because you don’t have funding mechanism to support it.
N: You get what you pay for.
S: And you tend to be very much specialized. You get what you pay for, tended to really specialize on either companion care, personal care or skilled care, but not a full continuum of care, which has been Brightstar model since we first opened.
N: You’re overseeing basically the strategy for the company Brightstar Care that’s registered Brightstar Senior Living and Memory Care and also Brightstar. Talk a bit about Brightstar Senior Living and Memory Care.
S: Absolutely. So we have had Brightstar Care on an Illinois basis since 2002. We expanded it to be a franchise model and go national in 2005, opened our second location kind of outside the state in 2006. So what we really saw is an opportunity to grow kind of a family of brands if you will, what are the additional services that a consumer might need during their healthcare journey and during their aging journey. And back in 2009 we actually established trademarks from multiple different brands that we eventually believed we would be of service to consumers to provide. One of those is Brightstar Senior Living which is a half assisted living, half memory care.
S: 36 room, 36 beds, senior living community, very high quality, very high service, really great dinning capabilities, really kind of doing it at the highest cortile just like we do at Brightstar Care. Recognizing that some of our families will age to a place where they need constant care. And in our experienced of home care most of us want to remain in their home forever, if they have the economic resources to do that.
N: Okay. Now…
S: As soon as, oh sorry.
N: No go ahead.
S: Soon as a senior needs more than 10 to 12 hours of care per day, an assisted living environment might be less expensive than having to pay for more than 12 hours of hourly care in the home. So if resources become constrained, we really saw it as an opportunity since we’ve already developed a relationship with the family, to help them transition from home to our senior living community. And continue to care for them in a way that they become used to Brightstar doing in a high quality and high service way and continue their journey just in a different setting.
N: Now you’re talking about high quality, high standards. Now Brightstar Care has received a Joint Commission’s Enterprise Champion for quality award 3 years running, am I right about that?
S: You are and we are the actually, the only company in the country to do that.
N: Tell our listeners the importance of being honored in such a way.
S: Well I think you know first it starts with you know Joint Commission as the same organization that credits to absolute best hospitals in the country. So again we’re talking about moms and dads, grandma’s and grandpa’s, we also take care of children. And so wanting to know that in any market in the country a thousand miles away from where I am in Gurnee, Illinois. I want to make sure that all of our offices are delivering the highest quality, operating at the highest standards. So partnering with a well-recognized organization like Joint Commission gives us the capability to have Joint Commission going in and surveying and ensuring that all of the employee and client records are at the highest level, just gives me confidence to feel good when I say Brightstar operates at a highest level within the industry. I can back that up because we’re actually living by that standard. Joint Commission isn’t a requirement for the industry, it is a requirement for our franchisees, 98% of our franchisees have Joint Commission Accreditation. And it’s a requirement after they have been in business for one year to get and maintain Joint Commission Accreditation. It comes with a lot of effort and some extra cost but for us if we’re goanna do this business and be of service in the community, we’re gonna do it the best absolutely the best way. And we’re goanna spot check to make sure it’s being don. And what better way to do that with the industry’s best accrediting organization, Joint Commission.
N: You’ve grown to over 300 locations nationwide, more than 15 thousands families. Talk a bit about how your management structure can maintain that high quality throughout so many different franchise location.
S: Yeah, absolutely. We have a very high touch. So we’ve got one full time corporate person for every two and a half franchisees. It’s about 5 to 10 times higher the normal support ratios in franchising. But again we believe we need to be doing the right thing to support our franchisees so they can support the families in their local community and can create the jobs in their local communities. We’re very selective in who we invite to be one of our franchisees. We only approve about half a percent of those qualified who want to be a franchisee. So it’s very hard to become a Brightstar franchisee. So first we start with really high standards in who’s gonna be a franchisee, we train them well, typically training in our industry is 1 week of 1 person. We train our franchisees for 4 weeks and we train each of their team management roles for another week. So we have 7 weeks of training compared to the normal 1 week of training. So again we’re selecting the highest caliber people. We’re making sure they’re fit with our core values which is all about being in service and making a difference, being able to grow and scale a business and have the skills with which to do that and then we’re training them really well. And then we have unique programs and capabilities like our Brightstar program where we’re actually coming out in their location multiple times during their first few months of opening, doing weekly calls with them to make sure there on track. And helping guide them and adjust them along the way, so they can reach peak performance.
N: Tell our listeners where they can get more information about Brightstar Care and let us know about your book as well. I understand that you’ve also published your first book.
S: I have. So first, they can find out anything if we can be of service to families looking to care for a loved one at Brightstarcare.com. And if anyone’s interested in researching our franchise opportunity, Brightstarfranchise.com. And then my book “Grow Smart, Risk Less” was written to really help other entrepreneurs that might be considering franchising as a way to scale their business. We published every single metric, every single accountability, our organizational chart for our first seven years in business. And many of my competitors are really surprised how much I was willing to share, but from my perspective the more we can help franchisors to be great franchisors the more successful franchisees create jobs in their local communities and that’s great for our country. That’s what the United States has been about and needs to continue to be about, this paying it forward and making it a better place to be for everyone.
N: Absolutely, thank you so much. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard in this health supplier segment talking with Shelly Sun. She is the CEO of Brightstar Care. Brightstar Care is a national private duty home care and medical staffing franchise, more than 300 locations strong providing medical and non-medical service to client within their home, as well as supplemental care to staff corporate clients. Brightstar Care received the Joint Commission’s Enterprise Champion for quality award 3 years running 2013, 14, and 15. And is committed to having each of its agencies comply with those high standards required by the Joint Commission. It’s been great having you here with us today Shelly.
S: Thank you, my pleasure.
N: Thank you. Transcript and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.