Local Research Can Pay Dividends – Literally

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

Home Health Agency Local Initiatives Provide GainsI try to write about and comment on happenings of national importance in the home health and hospice industries. But for every national initiative I mention, there are a huge number of local initiatives that also are important.

Hospital readmissions continue to make news on a nearly daily basis. The latest news is that Medicare reduced penalties for 1,246 hospitals and increased them for 226 others, according to Kaiser Health News. What are your local hospitals or health systems doing to decrease readmissions? And, more important, what role can home health play in helping them achieve fewer readmissions?

Collaborative groups of hospitals and providers have formed all over the country to tackle common problems such as readmissions or explore common opportunities like care coordination and payment reform. Home health and hospice agencies are a critical, but often overlooked, component of the care continuum. You need to know where you fit in, and how you start.

How closely do you keep tabs on initiatives being explored by the local hospital or large provider groups? Make a note in your calendar to check local news websites on a consistent basis.

Do you belong to your regional or state home care association? Bookmark the website of your closest association and check it frequently. If you are not active in the group, you are missing a fantastic opportunity to not only increase your knowledge about the industry, but also to raise the profile of your agency and position it for greater success.

That’s what we do at McKesson – provide you with the agency and clinical management tools you need to be successful. But home health software technology can take you only so far – the rest of the journey is up to you. And it starts with paying close attention to the local and national issues likely to affect your agency.

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