Making the Right Connection Can Help Referrals

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Charlie Batutis By Charlie Batutis 
Connectivity/Technology Product Manager, Change Healthcare
Home Care Referrals Made Easy with McKesson Homecare Connect

How valuable are your referring physicians and hospitals to your home care organization? If general trends hold true for home care marketing, the correct answer is very valuable.

Research from an online marketing firm shows that referred customers have a 25% higher lifetime value and are 18% less likely to churn, or to quit being your customer. Of course, using traditional marketing techniques in the home care industry could leave organizations afoul of federal laws against referrals, as evidenced by the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law, so organizations need to promote their services in a lawful manner.

The value of collaboration

One of the best ways to gain referrals is to make working with your organization as easy as possible. As hospitals continue to be penalized for unnecessary readmissions, the importance of proper care transitions cannot be overstated, nor can the value of collaboration.

Think about the more than 430 Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, which serves Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) patients in 49 states and the District of Columbia. An estimated 800 hospitals in 67 geographic areas are participating in the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) demonstration, an alternative bundled-payment model established by CMS. These are just two of the many care and reimbursement models that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have set up where home health can play an important role.

Change Healthcare Home Health Connect and Change Healthcare Hospice Connect can improve collaboration through the sharing of Continuity of Care Documents (CCDs) by direct messaging in a HIPAA-compliant manner. The user interface will be familiar to anyone who sends or receives email.

Saving steps, saving time

Imagine that your home health organization is in a geographic region that’s part of the CJR demonstration. You have a preferred provider agreement with a local hospital to care for its CJR patients. John Hipster, 66, recently has undergone right hip surgery and is ready for discharge. Your organization has a preferred provider agreement with the hospital and will handle Mr. Hipster’s post-acute care needs.

A message about Mr. Hipster using Direct Messaging Protocol is sent by the hospital’s Discharge Planning department to your home health organization. The message contains the referral information, including health history and physical (H&P) and the CCD, which contains medications, allergies, diagnosis and hospital course, and orders. This is more than enough information to get started ordering the admission visit and physical therapy evaluation visit to begin the episode.

Upon admission, the RN reviews the referral note to assist in setting up the medications and performing a reconciliation of the medication list received from the hospital to the medications in the patient’s home. The admitting clinician individualizes the appropriate care plan guideline based on any relevant findings from the comprehensive assessment performed on admission. Any changes or additions would be discussed with the referring physician for addition to the usual standing orders.

Following the RN admission visit and PT evaluation visit and care planning by each discipline, the Medical Plan of Treatment (485 or MPoT) is created and sent, along with a system-generated updated CCD, to the attending physician via a direct message.

The attending physician’s staff can review the MPoT and CCD, obtain the physician signature on the MPoT and attach it to a direct message sent back to the home health organization. During the course of care, any medication change or transfer in care setting will automatically create an updated CCD in Change Healthcare Homecare. If the attending physician and/or hospital uses systems enabled by the CommonWell Health Alliance, they will be able to retrieve, view and save those CCDs into their systems. Alternately, CCDs can be attached to a direct message and delivered to the selected care team member via a health information services provider (HISP).

At discharge, a CCD will be created by Change Healthcare Homecare and can be attached to a direct message to alert the attending physician and Good Care Regional of the discharge and any follow-up needed, thus closing the care loop for this episode.

Imagine the steps and time you can save using the direct messaging functionality in Change Healthcare Homecare Connect. It can make the job of your referring partners easier, too, which can help referrals.

Learn more about tracking the importance of tracking referral sources to optimize marketing efforts and maintain compliance.

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