It can be particularly daunting when parents go in search of home care and Medicaid case management for their disabled children.

Necie and Evan Mize had looked at several services for their then 2-year-old son Major, but nothing quite clicked.

But then they interviewed staff at Nursing & Therapy Services of Colorado (NTSCO).

What stood out was the individualized care, Necie Mize said. “We never got the feeling that Major was one more kid to fill their caseload.”

Nor was the agency deterred by his complex medical needs. Major, now 5, was born with Down syndrome and has cardiac, respiratory, digestive, and other health issues.

“They care for not only the needs of the child, but also the parents, and employees,” she said. “It’s like an extended family.”

The employee part is important, because Necie Mize began working for the agency as a paid caregiver to her son. In Colorado, parents are allowed to be paid for their work through a home care agency. She attended the NTSOC’s nurse assistant school to become certified.

The non-profit agency was founded in 2001 by a parent with a medically fragile child. Today, it serves 400 families in El Paso, Pueblo and Teller counties. It provides case management, in-home and outpatient therapies, and client respite, said Kindra Shankling, chief human resources officer. Staff includes nurses, CNAs and licensed physical, occupational and speech therapists.

Employees have expressed substantial satisfaction with the agency. NCTOC’s pay scale is in the top 18% of its type and benefits are good. Employee turnover is 10.4%, compared to the industry average of 60%, Shankling said. That satisfaction shows in client approval. A company survey found that the overall approval rating was 9.4 out of 10, and 100% of clients would recommend NTSOC to others.

Mize, who has a master’s degree in social work, said the CNA training she went through at NCTOC was just as challenging and concise. “They make sure you are prepared,” she said.

The school serves not only students who are parents, but also those who go on to work in the wider community at hospitals and nursing homes.

Those who become full-time employees for at least a year are reimbursed for the $1,000 tuition.

As full-time employee, Mize also receives vacation, sick leave and other benefits.

As an NTSOC employee she attends quarterly staff meetings via Zoom. When she needs to, she can get advice from staff nurses just like any employee.

“It’s like one big family,” Mize said, noting there are fun activities for the children and employees, including zoo trips, Halloween parties and holiday cookie decorating. The parties have been curtailed because of COVID-19, but teletherapy is an option.

Being at home with Major and her other son, Alexander, 2, is a luxury, Mize said.

Her husband Evan is an Army major. They named their son Major when he was a captain. Evan Mize has peace of mind knowing she is there for the children while he is away, she said.

Their son has had frequent hospital stays and the agency is not paid for his stay there. Mize can use her benefit time to make up for the loss of pay. The hospital stays are paid by Medicaid.

When Major is back home, the agency has never made an issue of the burdensome paperwork to re-enroll him. Instead, they focus on the boy’s health and provide emotional support to the family.

“That kind of caring is rare these days,” Mize said.

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