Small Changes Can Make Big Differences

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By Pat and Lynda Laff 
Principal Consultants, Laff Associates

Homecare Agency Financial Outcomes

Is your agency doing everything it can to become clinically and operationally aligned? If not, the time is now to make sure everyone is pulling in the same direction as unprecedented changes shake up the industry.

Reimbursements are going down at a time when the emphasis on quality outcomes has increased. The only way to maintain profitability in such an environment is to become more efficient, leveraging your people and your technology to their utmost to create a standardized operating model.

The first step is to understand your cost structure by discipline. Without this baseline data, you will not know whether changes are having the desired effect. You should also monitor every aspect of the agency from intake to discharge, looking for redundancies and unnecessary handoffs.

Census reports should be monitored weekly, making sure that new patients have been added correctly and discharged patients removed promptly. Clinician performance should also be tracked, counting the number of unweighted visits each clinician performs each week.

A common industry practice calls for rotating weekday staff through weekend shifts, which we do not believe helps efficiency. We advocate the use of a “Weekender” program with a dedicated staff that admits and serves patients from noon Friday through Sunday. Weekend staffers receive a pay differential, but because you don’t have to pay comp time to weekday staff, your costs are about the same. On Monday, weekend and weekday staff meet to manage handoffs.

Another common practice has different people admitting patients, evaluating them and treating them. Can you do more with less? A primary case management approach can use fewer people while delivering good patient results, better financial outcomes and a more satisfied patient.

To download a copy of the PowerPoint slides used in the presentation the Laffs gave during the Home Care and Hospice Financial Managers Association conference and expo, click here.

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