In today's climate of declining reimbursement, sales teams need more than pats on the back to improve referrals, boost census and feed the bottom line; they need clear and concise information about their home health or hospice organization's commitment to quality backed by objective data about patient outcomes.
According to Kara Osborne, Senior Manager at Simione, hospitals and other health networks want to validate both clinical and financial benefits in forging relationships with home care and hospice organizations. "Leaders in home health and hospice care must develop ways to help hospitals and other care partners monitor quality throughout the continuum. We must ask important questions like, 'How can my agency extend the patient experience after discharge?', incorporating new technology and enhancing communication with referral sources to cultivate provider and patient loyalty," Osborne says.
Mike Ferris, a Simione Principal, agrees. "Once a home health or hospice agency determines the right metrics for driving growth, it must communicate value through its outcomes. A sales team that is empowered with information about patient outcomes will sustain a high level of pride and passion for the difference their agency makes in its community. At the same time, they will be able to demonstrate their agency's parallel efforts to reduce readmissions, control costs and improve patient satisfaction," he says.
Are You Taking Advantage of Basic Technology?
The accountability to improve the quality of care and manage rising costs has shifted back to providers across the healthcare industry. Home health and hospice providers must follow suit, working to provide higher quality, better customer service and improved outcomes without increasing costs.
According to Darcey Trescone, RN, BSN, Senior Manager at Simione, many technologysolutions are available today to help agencies reduce expenses without sacrificing performance. They include:
- Workflow and task management tools accommodate and standardize the business flow for both home care and hospice. These tools help to drive efficient and effective internal processes across all functional areas within an agency, and assure best practice and regulatory compliance.
CMS Issues Clarifications for Implementation of Hospice Change Request (CR) 8358
On January 31, 2014, CMS published transmittal 2864 which replaced transmittal 2747 from July 26, 2013, and aimed to provide clarifying language, additional information, and examples to CMS Change Request (CR) 8358 -"Additional Data Reporting Requirements for Hospice Claims".
As compiled by Mark Romano, Manager at Simione, highlights of the clarifications and additional information are as follows:
- CMS confirmed that the mandatory implementation date for these additional data requirements is April 1, 2014. Voluntary reporting has been initiated since January 1, 2014.
- General Inpatient (GIP) Visits- New language clarifies that this change imposes the same line-item requirements as currently applied under routine home care and continuous home care:
- "This includes visits by hospice nurses, aides, social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists, on a line-item basis, with visit and visit length reported as is done for routine home care and continuous home care."