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Top 6 Ways to Begin Developing Strategic Partnerships

Developing strategic partnerships with other providers is not optional in the home health & hospice industry. Without them, you rely on “random” walk-ins and call-ups without any reliable source of new clients.

You might survive without strategic healthcare partnerships, but you will certainly not thrive. Partners help you improve care for patients, greatly boost referrals, and ultimately improve your community reputation and bottom line.

But how do you form these strategic partnerships, and what kind of partners are you looking to “team up with” anyway?

Selecting Partners (And Being Selected by Them!)

You first look for a wide variety of other providers as potential partners, from hospitals to doctor’s offices to assisted living facilities to outpatient clinics. Sometimes, which ones you seek partnerships with depends on your staff’s skill sets, as when you team up with wound care clinics when you have wound care nurses and a wound care program at your agency.

Other times, mere geographic proximity is a key factor in selecting a partner, depending on how many healthcare organizations (and of various types) are located in the area.

But otherwise, look for providers as a partner that are reputable, willing to work closely with you to improve care levels, and especially if you are accepted as a “preferred providers.”

In the past, for example, hospitals would just hand people a list of post-acute care options; but today, more and more hospitals choose a smaller number of preferred partners to work with. You need partners whose services you can complement, not duplicate. And remember, partners will affect each other’s reputation and bottom line, so choose wisely.

And don’t neglect to join an ACO, which might lead to referrals and partnerships!

Tips on Making the Partnership Work Well for All Involved

To gain new partnerships, as well as to manage them well and thus maintain them, you will want to follow these six strategic partnership development tips:

  1. Assign a “designated relationship coordinator” to be your official contact person for all your partners, and prospective new partners.
  2. Set up data exchange protocols with partners to facilitate efficient and accurate communication/billing.
  3. Ensure partners are aware of your capacity and capabilities, and can quickly get updated on the current situation.
  4. Establish transition-of-care milestones, and work to eliminate any glitches in inter-agency work flow issues.
  5. Have issue escalation procedures already in place to deal with emergencies. Know how/where/when to get help with critical conditions that go beyond your on-staff expertise.
  6. Make specific service level commitments with partners so they can count on you for such and such number/types of services.

Finally, let your managers and coordinators focus on their specific tasks and not get bogged down in other duties. And consider outsourcing your ICD coding rather than to tie down managers/clinicians with coding assignments.

To learn more about forming/managing key strategic partnerships for your home health organization, contact Kenyon HomeCare Consulting by calling us at 206-721-5091 or by filling out our online contact form.


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Strategic partnerships are key to home health growth. Find out how to form and develop optimal partnerships.

Social Media Posts:

1. Have a plan for establishing and developing your home health strategic partnerships.

2. Learn how to develop new strategic partnerships that will help your agency grow.

3. Learn what kinds of homecare partnerships to seek and 6 ways to develop them!

4. Don’t neglect homecare partnerships: they’re key to quality patient care and referrals.

How to Successfully Partner with an ACO

With changing Medicare reimbursement protocols, home health agencies join Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) to promote growth. The benefits are enhanced client experience, quality outcomes, and financial incentives for providers.

Before you can partner with an ACO, specific guidelines must be met. Here’s how to prepare for successful partnerships.ACO

Tips for ACO Partnership

These are important for every agency, but even more vital when working toward ACO membership.

Here are five ways to achieve a successful partnership

1. Improve Client Care with Elite Staff

Caregivers are crucial to client satisfaction, which is a key requirement for inclusion in an ACO. To improve client satisfaction, provide chronic disease training. Chronic disease management is vital for home care clients. Each caregiver must be able recognize warning signs, manage symptoms, and execute treatment protocols properly to provide successful patient outcomes.

2. Prepare Management for Medicare Protocols

Management must function like a well-oiled machine. To maintain ACO membership, managers must be organized, detailed, and goal-oriented and continually progress toward quality outcomes. When preparing to partner with an ACO, agencies can benefit from a management consultant to shoulder additional (temporary) management tasks or to guide current managers in the right direction.

3. Evaluate Your Agency’s Strengths and Weaknesses

The first step toward successfully joining an ACO is evaluating agency strengths and weaknesses. See where you thrive and where you need help. Bringing in outside professional help to perform an organizational assessment offers an objective perspective, often revealing things not seen before.

4. Reach out to Local Healthcare Professionals

Partnerships only thrive when healthcare providers work together toward a common goal; the care of patients. To prepare to join an ACO, improve communications with other healthcare professionals involved in patient care. Find out where your agency can improve coordinating with other providers.

5. Rethink Your Marketing Plan

Positioning your agency as a leader in this arena gives you an in with ACO. What works and doesn’t work in your marketing plan? Again, an outside consultant can give a fresh perspective. He or she is experienced and knows marketing strategies to establish your agency as an invaluable partner in the community.

Working with Kenyon HomeCare Consulting to Prepare for ACO Inclusion

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, we can help you achieve your goals. Reach out to us and schedule your consultation with one of our skilled professionals.

8 Popular Tips To Coding and Documentation Improvements

In homecare, there are “tricks of the trade” to reach your full potential. In home health & hospice, coding practices and complete documentation are keys to survival and financial viability long term.

To help your agency grow and better serve its clients (as well as boost cash flow and bottom line), here are eight tips to improve your coding and documentation processes:

1. Insist Your Coders Be CertifiedCoding and Documentation

Improving your coding means educated coders. It’s that simple. Insist on experience as opposed to a novice, and search for reliable employees. If at all possible, hire certified coders experienced in home health because there are differences in other settings (e.g. hospital or doctor’s office). Certified coders help achieve optimal reimbursement for care provided.

2. Provide Continuing Education for Coders

The health care industry continuously changes, and home health is no exception. You cannot afford for coders to fall behind. They need ongoing education to ensure your agency never “leaves money on the table”.

3. Don’t Let Managers Get Distracted by Coding Duties

When managers are busy coding, the organization suffers as a result. Most managers are not coding experts and need to spend time coordinating care, implementing policies, and motivating workers. Without supervisors functioning as case managers, productivity sinks.

4. Consider Outsourcing All Coding

If you are unable to locate, hire, and retain the best coders to efficiently handle your workload, or you are spending too much for in-house coding, outsourcing may be a better solution. By boosting reimbursements by 29% to 48%, outsourcing typically pays for itself.

5. Monitor Clinicians and Coders Alike for “KPIs”

CMS offers the home healthcare provider numerous tools including the KPI (Key Performance Indicators) Fact Sheet. Use this, or an equivalent, to monitor coding and documentation performance on an ongoing basis. This provides an objective scorecard to measure accuracy.

6. Stay Up to Date on Coding Changes

To code accurately and maximize reimbursement, documentation must be accurate. Coders must be up to date on changes and know what documentation must be present to support the codes. One way is signing up for CMS industry update emails.

7. Direct Communication With Clinicians

In spite of intense training, clinicians take time to implement documentation changes. No one knows better what is needed to support coding than coders. Make sure coders can conveniently and quickly contact specific clinicians to clarify clinical information or identify when documentation is incomplete. Good coders are invaluable to make sure clinical documentation is accurate and sufficient.

8. Capitalize on Your Great Coding/Documentation

Increasing number of patients will help evaluate coding and documentation improvements. To do so, make sure your agency is accredited (insurers often avoid you otherwise); and work to maximize homecare referrals.

By improving coding accuracy and documentation, you will see growth in revenues enabling you to reinvest in your agency. This allows for growth like never before!

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, we offer both temporary and permanent coding outsource solutions, along with education and other resources. To learn more about our ICD Coding Plus Program, call us today at 206-721-5091 or contact us online.

5 Harsh Realities of Accountable Care Organization Staffing

Before your agency can reap the rewards an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) has to offer, it requires excellent client care with quality outcomes. To achieve this, re-evaluate your staffing practices.

Staffing an Accountable Care OrganizationAccountable Care Organization

Home health staffing in an ACO is different than you’re accustomed to. Here are five harsh realities your agency must face staffing for an ACO.

1. Lack of flexibility leads to increased rehospitalizations.

One major requirement for an ACO is quality outcomes, which means decreased rehospitalizations. Proper availability of staff is crucial. If staffing levels are too tight, no one is available for patients in trouble. This leads to emergency situations and potential hospital admissions. To prevent this, make sure your agency is staffed with back up to make strategic patient visits as needed.

2. Proper care planning is necessary to help prevent emergencies.

Another factor for ACO success is frequency of patient visits. How often clinicians make patient visits can affect early symptom intervention/ management which decreases urgent care cost. Because an ACO’s goal is prevention and chronic disease management, providers receive financial incentives to manage symptoms effectively at home. The way to ensure proper monitoring is to provide comprehensive patient visits and increased contact from the agency.

3. Inadequate management prevents agencies from meeting ACO requirements.

Many times, client care quality boils down to management. What is your agency’s current scheduling model for visits? Without organized schedules, clinicians may not use time efficiently. Sometimes, hiring a management consultant can provide better oversight of clinician time and improve patient contact outside direct visits.

4. Poor client care causes issues with providers.

If client care suffers due to inefficient staffing, agencies can be eliminated from ACO participation. Not only does your agency miss out on financial incentives, but client retention will also suffer. This affects your bottom line as well as future referrals.

5. Being part of an ACO means making an investment.

Improving quality of care requires significant time and financial commitment from agencies. Participation in an ACO is no exception. To meet requirements, agencies must reach benchmarks in quality outcomes determined by Medicare. Making sure existing and new staff receive the best possible training is crucial to success in an ACO.

Reaching Accountable Care Organization Goals with Kenyon HomeCare Consulting

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, we have tools to help agencies with an ACO. From employee training to management consulting, we help your agency succeed. Schedule your free consultation to learn more.