I've been to numerous home care leadership conferences and this question seems to come up a lot. Here's a clear and succinct answer courtesy of "Home Care Insider Q & A" available here or by clicking the banner below.Q: Is there a requirement that states that hospital discharge planners must offer a choice of home health agencies to patients who opt for those services?
A: There is a requirement that addresses this and all patients have the right to choose their healthcare providers. Federal regulations require hospitals to develop a list of home health agencies that: ask to be on the list, are Medicare certified, and provide services in the area where the patient lives. They are then required to present the list to patients who are to receive services. If a hospital has a financial interest in a homecare agency and that agency is included on the list, the financial interest must be disclosed. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offers guidance regarding non-discrimination in post-hospital referral to home health agencies by requiring that hospital discharge planning may not limit qualified providers of home health services, must include the availability of home health services in the area, must disclose financial relationships with home health service entities, and has advised agencies to contact their regional office to report suspected violations of these requirements. It is important to remember that your agency must request to be on the list of home health agencies.
While the answer is simple, it's not easy. I've heard that some discharge organizations require you to wait a long time or to reprint their lists at your expense in order to get on. There's also the diffence between being on the list and actually getting referrals. What can you do so that when the discharge planner is asked "which one would you choose if you were me?" that your agency rolls off of their tongue. In 2011, it comes down to a lot of things, as follows:
- Having the discharge planner know you, know you care, and know that you're easy to deal with
- Have differentiators that immediately come to mind, like "I love working with Hazel's agency because I can make a 30 second phone call and know that you'll receive great care"
- Prove that you reduce readmissions. Can you make this claim and back it up with stats?
- Go upstream and have the doctors refer you. Stephen Tweed has a seminar on selling homecare to physicians that you can learn about here
Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital. Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery, RT, Physical Therapy and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota