Hospitals and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are offering new opportunities for partnerships with home health care organizations, but in order to capitalize, your organization needs to learn how to sell to these new potential partners.
Last week we highlighted 6 excellent home care newsletters in our posting Six Home Care Social Media email newsletters to Learn From. Today's post comes from one of those six, Stephen Tweed's Leading Home Care Newsletter, and is reprinted with permission from Home Health Care Today. Copyright 2011 Stephen C. Tweed. To receive a FREE subscription to this newsletter, log on to www.leadinghomecare.com."
Selling Home Health to Hospitals, ACOs & Other Healthcare Facilities
On Thursday, March 31, 2011, CMS released the long-awaited proposed rule for accountable care organizations (ACOs). VNAA will review the proposed rule, consult with its members and provide comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The comment period for this rule is 60 days, and ends on June 6, 2011.
Sec. 3022 of The Affordable Care Act created a Medicare Share Savings Program that provides incentives for physicians and hospitals to create ACOs. The CMS proposed rule is the first step towards full implementation of this program, which is slated to begin on January 1, 2012.
What does this mean for home health agencies? You need to...
- re-evaluate your relationships with local hospitals and physician groups.
- have facts and data showing how you can help hospitals and physicians save money.
- have in place a system to sell your services and your cost-saving programs to these new organizations being formed by physicians and hospitals.
Under the proposed rule, the Medicare program would provide financial incentives in the form of shared savings to physicians and hospitals who create ACOs, and agree to take responsibility for improving quality and coordination of care for a group of at least 5,000 Medicare beneficiaries. The ACO is expected to lower the costs of care for these beneficiaries, and in return would share in any savings to the Medicare program. The following groups of providers are eligible to participate in an ACO:
- ACO professionals (i.e., physicians and hospitals meeting the statutory definition) in group practice arrangements
- Networks of individual practices of ACO professionals
- Partnerships or joint ventures arrangements between hospitals and ACO professionals
- Hospitals employing ACO professionals
- Other Medicare providers and suppliers as determined by the Secretary (including home health agencies)
Follow the Money
One of the fundamental rules of business and politics is … “Follow the Money”. In this case, hospitals and physician groups will be looking for opportunities to share in the savings for the Medicare program. Home health agencies will be invited into ACOs when we are able to persuade decision makers that we can contribute to measurable cost savings that will increase revenue for the ACO.
New Methods of Selling to Hospitals and ACOs
One of the outcomes of this new rule is how you sell your home health services to hospitals. In the past, your approach was to build relationships with discharge planners and hope they would be favorable to your agency in their conversations with patients. The better the personal relationship, the more likely you are to get referrals.
That changes when the decision making process moves up the executive chain, and you are dealing with hospital and physician leaders. While relationships continue to be important, the decision will be based more on facts, data, and results. To be successful selling to ACOs, it will be important for your agency to develop an executive level sales process that can…
- gain access to the appropriate Executives in the ACO.
- clearly differentiate your agency from your competitors based on your ability to contribute to cost savings.
- provide a clear, concise, powerful presentation that will persuade the ACO Executives of your ability to deliver on your promises.
- close the sale and enter into a collaborative agreement with the ACO.
- deliver on your promises. Generate measurable cost savings while providing high quality patient outcomes.
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