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Ankota: Ushering in the Next Generation of Homecare Blog

Reduce Hospital Readmissions by Seeing Patient on Discharge Day

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jun 27, 2014 9:46:27 PM

“If home care agencies really want to reduce hospital readmissions, there is one simple thing they can do that they often don’t.”, said Diane Omdahl, RN, co-founder of 65 Incorporated, an organization helping seniors understand Medicare. Do you know what it is?

This provocative quote is from an excellent article by Stephanie Bouchard, Managing Editor of Healthcare Finance News. She interviewed Diane Omdahl in preparation for her article “Readmissions penalty presents a business opportunity for home care companies”.

According to Bouchard, Omdahl spent 20+ years in the home care space and says that the same misconception about not seeing patients on the day of discharge persists as much today as it did 20 years ago.

“Home care agencies often do not see the patient on the day of discharge,” she said, because they are under the misunderstanding that Medicare will not cover a visit on a discharge day”. “But that is not the case”, Omdahl said. “Medicare will cover visits to patients on the day of admission and the day of discharge.”

“That’s one of the things that home care agencies have to realize,” she said. The sooner they can get out there to see the patient after discharge, the better off they’re going to be and the patient’s going to be.”

If you're interested in learning more about the new opportunities in transitional care, please take a look at the video below and let us know what you think!


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Topics: Readmissions, Care Transitions

How Can Home Health Profit From Readmission Penalties?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jun 24, 2014 1:36:15 PM

We ran across a fascinating article by Tammy Worth recently, called “Home Health On Road to Reducing Readmissions”.  In her article, Tammy makes a compelling case that even before impending readmission penalties are imposed on home health providers, the industry has already begun to put in place practices that focus on reducing readmissions.

At Ankota, we see multiple examples of how our home health customers are leveraging this growing trend on a daily basis. So the question really is...how can home health care providers really profit from this industry focus on readmission penalties?

According to home care experts, home care companies have a tremendous opportunity to expand their businesses and help shape coordinated care efforts by offering services to hospitals already seeking to avoid patient readmissions and the related penalties. Remember, the Affordable Care Act imposes penalties on 30-day readmissions for certain conditions. (See our blog on this topic here.). Penalties can indeed be stiff – the maximum penalty is up to 3% of a hospital’s regular Medicare payments.

Hospital case managers and rehabilitation units are looking for well-established, well-disciplined and efficient agencies that will provide good care to their discharging patients so they can make safe referrals.

With that in mind, here are three easy actions you can take to help your agency stay strong:

1. Identify and build relationships with the key referring agencies in your area – the hospitals, emergency departments, accountable care organizations (ACO’s) – so that the role your home health care organization can provide is factored into patient discharge and treatment plans from the very beginning.

2. Take an in-depth look the performance of your home health care team and fill any gaps. Share your performance data with the hospitals and other referring agencies you are working with to build credibility and trust.

3. Work hard to understand what your hospitals need. Offer solid strategies to help meet their needs, and look for opportunities to develop new programs and offer training to make sure you can deliver the services and care sought by your referring hospitals.

In that same vein, H. Carol Saul, a partner in the healthcare and life science practice at Atlanta law firm Arnall Golden Gregory, offers some great insight on the topic...

“Hospitals are major referral sources to home health organizations and they want agencies that can show that they have low levels of hospital readmissions...More savvy home health organizations have already been using low readmission rates as a marketing tool”, Saul noted. She has seen some with specialty programs focusing on clinical conditions tied to readmission penalties – heart failure, pneumonia and heart attacks.

“There is already a lot of innovation going on around this and it is one example of how the Affordable Care Act is standing some old things on their head,” Saul said.  We at Ankota could not agree more.

If you're interested in learning more about the oportunities in care transitions, click the link below to receive a free White Paper on the subject.


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Topics: Readmissions, Care Transitions, Accountable Care Organizations

Is Home Health Missing the Boat on its Biggest Opportunity?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jun 11, 2014 3:07:29 PM

Among the many hats that I wear at Ankota, one of them is marketing.  I've heard the description that marketing is sometimes described as mixing Kool-Aid and hoping people with drink it.  Similarly, the expression "drinking the Kool-Aid" refers to holding an unquestioned belief or philosophy without critical examination.    

With that in mind, I've noted that around 1 in 5 home health agencies that I speak to really resonate with what we're doing to assist the home health industry dominate the care transitions market, but the other 80% don't.  

I welcome differing points of view and new ideas, but I do feel passionate about the ability of transitional care to both offer a high level of care and to lower healthcare costs.  

Allow me me make my case (and try to back it up with the critical examination)...

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Topics: Care Transitions, Avoidable Readmissions

5 Mistakes For Home Care Entrepreneurs to Avoid

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jun 9, 2014 12:50:35 PM

This is going to be a quick post.  Our great friend Ginny Kenyon from Kenyon Health Care Consulting posted an article for home care entrepreneurs telling them 5 things to avoid in their start-ups.  If you're starting a home care agency, please read her full article and get her help if you're not on track.

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Topics: Home Care Entrepreneurship, Starting a Home Care Business, Home Care Best Practices

Will the Top 6 Components of a Home Health Visit Change in 10 Years?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jun 5, 2014 1:29:00 PM

I found an interesting graphic on the website for the Healthcare Intelligence Network (www.hin.com) that itemizes the top components that occur in a home health visit.

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Topics: Readmissions, Elderly Care, Care Transitions, Accountable Care Organizations, ACO

7 Secrets for Recruiting Quality Home Care Sales Agents

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jun 3, 2014 12:17:59 PM

Home care consultancy Beth Carpenter and Associates recently released a great article about recruiting Quality Home Care Sales personnel.  The full article, written by consultant Jim Szymanski  is available here.  A few key points are as follows:

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Topics: Home Care Entrepreneurship, Marketing Home Care, Home Care Best Practices

Ankota Partner iGetBetter Helps Patients Comply With Their Care Plans

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jun 3, 2014 12:08:17 PM

While building Ankota, I was introduced to another local company caled iGetBetter and was invited to help them develop their technology.  Is iGetBetter a great name, or what? Unlike Ankota, which focuses on helping home care organizations deliver ongoing care and care transitions more efficiently, iGetBetter focuses on the patient and helps them stick to their care plan.

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Topics: Care Transitions, Accountable Care Organizations, ACO

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About Ankota

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

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