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Data Makes all the Difference in Your Home Health and Hospice Agency


I don’t know about you, but I learn best by example. The great news is, I’ve had the pleasure of learning from the best in the business. Whether I worked directly for them, beside them or had a customer relationship with them, I relished in the opportunity to tune into their decision-making processes and learn from each situation.

Here’s what I learned:

Each brought their own decision-making style and process. Some created pro-con lists while others drafted elaborate decision-making trees. At the end of the day though, each wanted to understand the facts, risks and details before making the decision. To gain that information though, ALL great decision makers depend on data.

Over the past 15 years in my career, I have seen the positive shift toward Data Driven Decisions (DDD). The ability to have timely data surrounding a decision is paramount. Let me give you a few simple examples specific to our industry.

Home health and hospice staffing. Let’s say you’re trying to staff the back office to process workflow for a Medicare certified agency. It’s typically a pretty standard process. It relies heavily on accurate data though. You need to know your true Average Daily Census (ADC), Average Length of Stay (ALOS) and Payor Mix.

Let’s say your location has 100 ADC, 55-day ALOS and a 90 percent Payor Mix. With these data points, you need 3 to 4 back office team members (1-2 clinical supervisors, 1 scheduler and 1 office coordinator. That’s if the location has centralized corporate services that include billing, medical records, HR, sales, etc.).

Switch the branch’s data to reflect 100 ADC, 30-day ALOS and 40 percent Medicare or PPS-like payors and 60 percent non-Medicare. In this scenario, there’s a lot more workflow that needs to processed. There are more Review Evaluation Documentation Steps, more 485s to review, more Oasis Locks, more Coordination of Care, more Add -On Services (PT,OT, ST, and MSW visits), twice the number of Raps and Finals. What does this mean? You need more staff.

Without the accurate, available and accessible data to support the decision to grow staffing, you will quickly find a location that is behind in workflow, rushing to process Oasis and usually behind in scheduling visits. This is costing time and money. DDD shows you need to change the staffing model and allow for more timeliness of care and a more robust review process by adding a few more team members to reduce the cycle time and throughput of actions.

(If you need help with home health and hospice staffing, we can help. Let's chat.)

Home health and hospice sales and marketing. Another area I have seen DDD come into play in a big way is in creating an effective sales and marketing strategy. Without data to ensure your sales team is making the right calls to the right referral sources, it becomes a less strategic sales process and more of a free for all. Using data to align the team to the appropriate referral sources, allows for strategic planning processes that ensures reps are calling physicians and facilities that are aligned and pro hospice or home care.

Let’s say rep A is calling on a physician #1, who refers many patients to home care. Using DDD, we discovered the conversion rate for physician #1 patients is very low. It’s less than 20 percent. Most of the referrals from this physician were not homebound and didn’t meet the Conditions of Participation for the home care services. Sending a nurse to the patient’s home to evaluate this patient and non-admit them costs approximately $68 per patient. ($60 per hour + $8.00 average mileage costs.)

To delve deeper into this scenario, let’s say physician #1 referred 84 patients in the TTM (trailing twelve months). A 20 percent conversion rate means 67 patients were classified as NTUC (Not Taken Under Care). The actual cost of not taking these patients is $4,556. And that’s just the actual cost — We’re not accounting for the intake cost, opportunity costs and the frustration and time required to discuss and explain to physician #1 why his patients are not being cared for after he made the referral. Having data to demonstrate and explain this is key. It will best illustrate and inform physician #1 and his office staff who can then re-educate and ensure the sales team has the right message to the staff.

There are so many other areas and examples where the use of data will streamline processes. Some other examples: Visit time and documentation time, Productivity of Caregivers, Turnover, Visit Utilization, Timeliness to Care, Average Visits Per Episode or Diagnosis Categories, Average Supplies, DME, Pharmacy Costs Per Caregiver, Sales Calls Per Referral, Expenses Per Call and many more.

Did I mention that the Maxwell Healthcare team knows the best data points to look for, the best ways to extract the data and the best way to deliver it? It’s because we know the business and we know the technology.

If you’re a home health and hospice provider that needs help with your DDD strategy, please reach out to any member of the MHA team. You can reach me directly, here. We are happy to assist you in gathering data to help make crucial decisions and understand the impact of the data being used. Please take care of each other and remember to be kind to everyone.


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