HHAs cannot survive without a steady flow of patient referrals, especially in areas where there is an abundance of HHAs competing for the same few patient population.
Why is it now harder to get referrals from hospital or SNF discharge planners?
There are several good reasons why it’s harder to get referrals from discharge planners:
1. Discharge planners are bombarded by home health sales reps on a daily basis as competition for patients increases. There has been a 75% increase in the number of agencies across the US. Can you see why discharge planners from hospitals and SNFs are overwhelmed? Many hospitals have new policies prohibiting home health sales reps from calling or dropping in on their discharge planners because it’s takes up too much of their time.
2. With the explosion of home health agencies, and the rules about patient choice and freedom of choice, it is more difficult for discharge planners to make referrals to certain agencies all the time. This is especially true when most agencies have the same wording in their brochures. Nothing makes them stand out from the crowd. Nothing says why the patient should choose your agency over another agency.
3. Discharge Planner/ Case Managers (DP/CM) are under tremendous pressure to get patients out of hospitals quicker, so this makes it harder for discharge planners/case managers to discharge patients from the hospital to competent home health or home care services. The pressure makes it hard for CM/DP to interact with home health sales reps.
Solution: What is a more effective way to get more referrals from Physicians, hospitals, and Skilled Nursing Facilities?
Based on the above information, and just plain knowledge on how the system works. It just makes good sense for home health agencies and personal care agencies to start specializing in providing specific types of care, or target a certain group of patients rather than saying that “everyone” is your targeted market. The truth is that not everyone is your targeted market with so much competition out there looking for the patients. Now is the opportunity for home health and personal care agencies to generate referrals that turn into admissions by telling DP/CM, physicians, and SNF what makes you special. What problem of theirs can you solve?
Your Sales Rep. should be able to tell hospitals, SNF, physicians or their office staffs how you can solve the 30 Day Re- Admission issues that Medicare penalizes them for. If you focus on this 30-day Re-Admission problem that plagues every hospital in the country, then your agency will soar to higher success. Training staff will be the first step you take to guarantee the success of this plan. Your sales rep must be very knowledgeable about what your agency can and cannot do. There’s nothing worse than having a sales rep promising hospitals, and doctors that you can provide services that your agency is not qualified to do. If your agency cannot provide anything more than simple wound care because your nurses are not trained on wound care, then don’t take patients with major wound care needs. You would think this would be common sense, but believe me as a consultant, I have seen many agencies get into trouble by taking patient case loads they are not qualified for, or have enough nurses to provide the care.