Recently, HEALTHCAREfirst asked health and hospice professionals from around the nation to share their professional challenges and goals in 2016 through an industry survey. Here is what we learned:
Doing More for Less
Not surprisingly, more than half of respondents (53%) told us that their biggest challenge in 2016 is reduced profit margins. More and more often, home health and hospice agencies are being asked to do more, but get a lot less in return. Minimizing overhead costs while making sure you get paid the maximum allowable amount for your services are key components in ensuring that you experience maximum profit margin.
The second biggest challenge in 2016 is recruiting and/or retaining qualified staff. It’s no secret that the need for in-home services will continue to rise as the population ages. Given this increase in demand, home health and hospice agencies are finding it increasingly more difficult to find, and keep, the most capable employees. Happy employees are more likely to stay in their current position, and will tell others about open positions in their office. Ensure employee satisfaction by providing the tools they need to be successful. This could include an easy-to-use EHR software program that helps them perform their tasks with ease, saving them valuable time.
Compliance is King
Third on the list is the fear of ADRs, takebacks or audits. More than 18% of respondents indicated that this was a top challenge for their agency. How do you reduce your risk? Ensuring clean, compliant documentation is the biggest part of that. Making sure you are compliant will greatly minimize the red flags that may warrant an audit or review.
And with the risk of audits and takebacks increasing, you need to take a preemptive approach to preventing fraud, abuse, and waste through the implementation of a comprehensive compliance plan. This should include built-in compliance checks within your EHR software, careful billing and coding practices, as well as comprehensive compliance training for your staff.
Another goal for home health and hospices agencies in 2016 is the need to increase referrals. With thousands of home health and hospice agencies nationwide, standing out from the competition is more difficult than ever. The agencies that get the most referrals are committed to providing a positive patient experience with a high level of patient satisfaction.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our industry survey and let us know your thoughts. If you didn’t have a chance to complete the survey, we still want to hear from you! What do you see as the challenges in 2016 for home health and/or hospice? What are your goals? Tell us in the comments.