Is your home health or hospice agency achieving peak performance when it comes to your financial operations? While you might be surviving and maybe even thriving, there could be opportunity for you to improve. Here are four things that home health and hospice agencies should do to achieve peak performance.
Define Peak Performance
How do you know if you’re achieving peak performance if you aren’t keeping score? Attaining peak performance is more than working really hard and hoping it all turns out great. You need to monitor and manage your business operations as a whole using complete and accurate data to define what peak performance looks like for you. This means going beyond monitoring claims and reimbursement each month. These are some areas that you may want to look at:
- Gross profit margin
- Net profit margin
- Days Sales Outstanding (DSO)
- Cost per visit and per day
- Average reimbursement by payer, by day, and by visit
- NOE timely filing performance
If you haven’t done so already, you first need to compile and analyze your own financial data to see how you’re performing. Then, compare your performance to industry standards to outline high-level areas for improvement. There are a number of ways that you can collect data and monitor performance. Take advantage of the reporting in your EMR software. In addition, some vendors (like HEALTHCAREfirst) offer advanced home health & hospice analytics to report data from other sources, providing a more complete financial picture as well as industry benchmarks so you can see how you stack up and where you need to make changes.
Outline Financial Improvement Strategies
Once you’ve outlined high-level areas for improvement, it’s time to dive deeper into operations to uncover key drivers. There are a few main ways to improve financial performance – controlling costs, speeding up billing and collection activities, and serving more patients…so start there. Once you’ve identified items of focus, it’s time to formalize your improvement strategies.
At any time, you should be able to clearly articulate your strategies for success, and how they will produce a solid cash flow and/or improve revenue. Write your plan down. A written plan can uncover new ideas, flesh out processes that may not be working, and engage your staff so that they understand their contributions to success. Every strategy should include the item that you’re going to focus on, your goal for the item, an established timeline for reaching your goal, actions needed to reach your goal, and the people responsible.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- Where are we spending the most money? Can we reduce costs without sacrificing quality?
- Are we receiving reimbursement quickly? How does it compare to industry standards?
- Do we collect everything that we are owed? If not, why?
- How are we different (and better) than our competition? How can we strengthen and expand referral partnerships?
- What can we do to innovate and best address the changing needs of our patients/caregivers and community?
- Are there regulations and changes on the horizon that we should address now in order to maintain financial security?
- Does everyone on our team share the same strategy?
- Are our strategies viable and sustainable?
Have the Right Tools for Peak Performance
Peak financial performance doesn’t happen without preparation. It is rare that a business finds itself in a position where everything just “falls into place” with little effort or resources. You must have the right tools for the job. While it’s possible to make do with what you have, agencies that perform at the highest level typically utilize innovative tools and resources designed to help them succeed.
There are resources that may prove effective for home health and hospice agencies. This includes working with a third party coding & billing company. Perhaps your strategy involves speeding up your revenue cycle operations. Or maybe you need to reduce clinical documentation or coding errors. Working with a company that offers expert home health and hospice coding and billing services may be something to look into. The reimbursement process is generally faster, with fewer errors.
Improve…and Improve Again
Home health and hospice agencies that don’t keep up with regulations and trends will soon find themselves struggling to survive. The most successful agencies don’t just “set it and forget it.” They continually strive to improve processes and systems targeted at achieving peak performance.
This can range from simple changes in day-to-day operations all the way to shifting focus and processes across the agency. Take a close, unbiased look at all of the data that you collect as you “keep score.” Then, regularly initiate improvement strategies that add value to the way you operate. By creating an atmosphere of continuous improvement, you will experience better acceptance of new ideas among staff, increased motivation, and greater employee satisfaction.
Lastly, an important goal for all home health and hospice agencies is to not just survive, but to thrive in an increasingly challenging environment. Regulatory compliance, reductions in reimbursement, stronger competition…all of these things can slow you down. But they don’t have to! Achieving peak performance boils down to developing and implementing solid strategies, using the right resources, monitoring your progress, and being willing to change when things aren’t going the way they should.
How HEALTHCAREfirst Can Help You Achieve Peak Financial Performance
When your agency achieves peak performance, you are able to reinvest money into your business so you can focus on providing the best care possible. We help home health and hospice agencies through a number of services and tools, including:
When you work with HEALTHCAREfirst, you get more than just services, analytics, and tools to help you achieve peak performance… you get a team of experts dedicated to your success.
The HEALTHCAREfirst Difference
HEALTHCAREfirst offers the services and analytics home health and hospice agencies need to achieve peak financial performance, while still maintaining focus on patients. To learn more about how we can help your agency succeed, let us know.