One of the industry experts I learn from every time we speak is Ginny Kenyon, principal at Kenyon Home Care Consulting. Ginny helps open home care agencies and has given Ankota great inputs on our software. We at Ankota strongly believe that keeping elderly people healthy and comfortable in their homes (and out of the hospital) is an important step in the evolution of healthcare. Ginny is one of the pioneers driving moves in home health delivery. Enjoy her post (below).
Preparing to open a skilled home health agency is an intricate process that involves several important decisions and considerations. Just as with any organization start-up, the beginning business years of a home health organization are difficult. For this reason, it’s crucial when planning for your homecare agency start-up to have an effective business plan, sufficient funds to get you through the initial phase, support from others in the industry, and an understanding of relevant demographics and competition.
Creating a Business Plan for Your Homecare Agency Start-Up
The first step toward any successful business venture is to create a well-designed, strategic plan. But before you can do that, you need to research. Find out what’s required by state and federal agencies regarding licensing, as well as what the laws are about elder care in your area. Once you’ve done sufficient research, you can better plan for getting everything accomplished in a timely manner. Come up with a schedule based on when you want to open and the time frame of each required step. It’s often best to start with the items that will take the longest so that you can work on other items while waiting for feedback and/or approval.
Securing Sufficient Funds for Your Homecare Agency Start-Up
Because licensing can take a substantial amount of time – sometimes up to a year – for skilled home health agencies, it’s important to have enough funds to cover not only start-up expenses, but also to cover the day-to-day costs of running your organization. While some states may complete the licensing process in a shorter amount of time – such as Florida, whose time frame is four months – there may be some time when you will care for clients without receiving reimbursement. Additionally, skilled home care agencies are required to see ten Medicare clients for free in order to establish services, so be prepared with enough cash flow to support this requirement.
To combat the potential problems that waiting for licensure can cause, consider paying for accreditation from Joint Commission or CHAP while obtaining your license. Agencies that achieve accreditation from such an organization receive deemed status and meet Medicare and accreditation requirements at the same time.
Seeking Support for Your Homecare Agency Start-Up
Through the challenges that come with muddling your way around legal requirements, Medicare and state standards, and other issues involved with a homecare agency start-up, it’s beneficial to be part of a support system. Look for and join both national and state organizations in the industry that provide a source of readily-available information. Doing so will ease your mind and help make the entire process go a bit more smoothly.
Evaluating Demographics, Competition for Your Homecare Agency Start-Up
Finally, before opening your doors you’ll want to research and evaluate the demographics in your desired area, as well as any existing competition. Is there a market for your home health agency? Is there room for your organization among competitors? Recently there has been a rise in both diversified hospices and private-duty organizations offering skilled home health care. Research the agencies in your area to determine which ones provide similar services so you can properly judge the amount of competition you’ll face.
With today’s competitive market, achieving a lasting homecare agency start-up is challenging. Research and planning are crucial steps toward success in your endeavors. Consider the points we’ve mentioned here, and the process will be much easier to navigate.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR A SUCCESSFUL HOMECARE AGENCY START-UP first appeared in Kenyon HomeCare Consulting blog.
Ginny Kenyon is the founder and CEO of Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, a home health consulting firm that gives agencies a market advantage, promotes creative product development, and offers viable ways to achieve and sustain organizational and fiscal success.
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