published Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Accident leads to business in home health

  • photo
    Though injured 21 years ago in a car wreck, Rick Collett recovered and has gotten into the home health care field through a franchise.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.


Hometown: LaFayette, Ga.

Job: Home health care franchise owner

Age: 43

Education: McCallie School; Furman University, degree in exercise science; master's from Armstrong Atlantic State University

Career: Hamilton Medical Center, Dalton, Ga.; Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Albany, Ga.; hospital consultant; Lean Six Sigma expert; and a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Quote: "There was a huge difference in the way it made me feel. It felt better at home."

Rick Collett knows firsthand about the needs of those he serves with his home health care business.

A 1991 auto accident shattered the left leg of the 43-year-old LaFayette native. He was wheelchair-bound for two months and had to undergo 15 surgeries and skin grafts after the accident.

During his recovery, a home health nurse became a close friend, and they still communicate more than 20 years later, he said.

That experience, along with his background in the hospital industry, led Collett and his wife, Amy, to buy the Chattanooga franchise for BrightStar Care in January.

"I know as a patient I enjoyed being at home much more than being in the hospital," Collett said.

Amy Collett said the 50-employee business has three components, with a key one to help elderly clients continue to live at home. Housecleaning, laundry and meal prep, and pet care are

among its services. Also, she said, its personnel can assist with bathing, dressing and grooming.

Outside the home, the business handles transportation needs to doctor's appointments or the bank or other locations.

"It's anything you or I take for granted," she said.

Additionally, BrightStar workers offer services at assisted living facilities, such as staying with residents up to 24 hours a day.

"One of the needs we're seeing is people progressing to assisted living," Rick Collett said.

He said they have clients who have Alzheimer's disease.

"They bring us in as sitters and caregivers," the business owner said.

Another part of the business is providing services for children starting as infants who may have a disability or autism, Amy Collett said.

"The caregiver a lot of times needs a break," she said.

Thirdly, BrightStar provides temporary placement, temp to permanent and permanent staffing for doctors' offices and assisted living facilities, they said.

"We do the drug screen, criminal background checks, personal and professional references," Amy Collett said. "We've done all the background work for these facilities."

Rick Collett said business is going well so far, and he hopes first-year revenues will hit $1 million.

He said the business is working toward Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations status, which he termed "the gold standard for health care facilities."

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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