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Salvation for Medicare Home Health Agencies in Times of Medicare Cuts

Time to Re-envision Your Agency

With continued cuts to Medicare Home Health, we are beginning to see some reputable Medicare Home Health agencies go out of business. To say the industry is in crisis would be an understatement. Living in the Medicare box can be very constraining and inhibits your vision. An inability to “see” beyond today can cause you to miss other opportunities outside the Medicare program. So how do agencies survive? Perhaps now is the ideal opportunity to spread our wings and expand our horizons. While Medicare reimbursements decline, home health agencies need to look to other sources to make up the lost revenues.

Depending on your state, most Medicare Home Health agencies are already licensed to provide non-Medicare or government reimbursed services to their communities. Unfortunately, because of “Medicare think”, many agencies do not see or visualize other areas of service upon which they can expand. There are multiple opportunities in every community, depending on what the community looks like and what the community will pay for.

One potential profitable service an agency could develop would be an Occupational Health Program aimed at the small to middle sized businesses. Many larger companies already have an Occupational Health Program, or Employee Health program, and sometimes they are looking to outsource this service if the price is right.

To build a comprehensive Occupational Health Program, you need to know what business in your community views as value. To help them decide, you need to develop a catalog of potential services with associated prices that would make up their program. Elements of the program could include, but may not be limited to, the following;

  • Monthly or biweekly or weekly Health Clinics for: BP checks with consulting and referral, diabetes check-ups, with consulting and referral, CHF check-ups with consulting and referral, COPD check-ups with consulting and referral, and/or general health issues with consulting and referral
  • Yearly flu shot clinics
  • Pneumonia vaccine administration
  • Health education and training (general)
  • Health and safety training specific to the industry
  • Health and Fitness classes
  • Nutrition education and consulting
  • Nurse Practitioner or physician examination and treatment

These are just a few of the services that could be offered through a comprehensive Occupational Health Program. If this is a program that would be viable in your area, you may want to engage the services of a Masters prepared Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner or a physician who specializes in this area of practice. You could add their services to the package which would potentially make the program more valuable to the prospective business owner. As you develop the program, and the marketing and sales plan, do not forget that community colleges are also employers and will sometimes buy some of the services you offer in an Occupational Health Program.

The goal of Kenyon Home Care Consulting is to encourage all Medicare home health agencies to begin to think beyond the Medicare box. Look for the opportunities that may exist in the community that will allow agency to not only survive, but to begin to thrive in the current environment of reimbursement cuts to their programs.

If you have found an opportunity, or need some assistance with identifying potential opportunities, contact Kenyon HomeCare Consulting. We can be reached at 206-721-5091 or by e-mailing gkenyon@kenyonhcc.com. We are here to help.

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