Agencies Must Show Value to ACOs

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)

Home Health Agencies Must Show Value to ACOsParticipating in ACOs can be a key growth strategy, but home health agencies must know what to expect and how to show their value, says Mark Sharp, CPA, partner at BKD, LLP. Sharp was among the featured speakers at the recent McKesson Home Health and Hospice Executive Summit.

Sharp sees four requirements for home health agencies to participate effectively in ACOs:

  • Promote evidence-based medicine
  • Promote beneficiary engagement
  • Internal reporting on quality and cost metrics
  • Coordination of care

Since hospitals and large physician groups are driving a majority of ACOs, Sharp says agencies must cater to their needs, which include managing transitions from acute to post-acute care and helping patients monitor their chronic conditions to prevent hospital stays in the first place.

Using evidence-based practices and tracking key performance measures are critical to an agency’s success within an ACO. “You have to be able to show outcomes and cost savings to the healthcare system,” Sharp says. “It’s not just cost savings within your agency; it’s cost savings across the continuum of care.”

A robust home health software  solution for agency management is a must to provide the level of detail that ACOs require. Quality metrics should be shown by patient and by disease state. Data on cost reduction is critical, as is the ability to handle different payment methodologies.

Building the strong relationships necessary to become involved in ACOs is a C-suite endeavor, although the marketing department can play a supporting role, Sharp notes. And an agency must be willing to cover the geographic footprint of an ACO – even though it may require either an expansion of services or a partnership with another agency.

“You should take a team approach to build the internal processes you need to participate in ACOs,” Sharp says. “Then, you have to get out into your markets, tell your story and develop the relationships that you need to succeed.”

Next: Five Ways to Maintain Agency Margins

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