Coming this July…

I am excited to present my new book,“A Son’s Journey: Taking Care of Mom and Dad.” The book entails my personal journey as my brother and I dealt with our aging parents. The stories told are heartbreaking at times, but also joyful with love and laughter. It illustrates how love and loss is simply the cycle of life we all must endure sooner or later. The lessons my brother and I learned are the gems in the book I would like to share, so that when faced with this inevitable part of life, it can be filled with more positive experiences.

Why so long?

So many hospitals I work with have greater length of stay for those patients where a hospice referral was made. Here are some actual dates from a hospital in the southeast that mirrors other hospitals.

This hospital made 201 hospice referrals during a 12 month period. The LOS on these hospice referrals was 13.3 days, ouch! The hospital’s overall LOS is 4.9 days. Why the big difference? A few thoughts are below along with some possible measure on how to lower that LOS.

Health Systems Still Don’t Get Hospice

Hospitals and Health Systems still don’t get hospice! I am working with several hospices that are trying to forge deeper working relationships with their local hospitals. Hospice can be such an important tool in:

  • Decreasing their Mortality Stats (the actual number and related Length-of-Stay)
  • Maximizing their DRG payments
  • Reducing inappropriate hospitalizations
  • Creating a new stream of revenue

Building Your Billable Hours – Time for a New Plan?

Billable hours are the economic engine that drive Personal Care Home Health (Private Duty) companies. I know this well, because I actually own a Personal Care Home Health Company called Homewatch CareGivers, www.thehomecareexpert.com and my challenge over the years has been understanding how best to drive billable hours.

My initial efforts started with a traditional sales model. I had three sales people working the segments of Geriatric Case Managers, ElderLaw Attorneys, Assist Living Communities and the well. Maybe I didn’t have the right people and/or I didn’t do a good job with training, but the results were poor.

How Was Your First Quarter Growth?

The 1st QTR of 2015 flew by! I hate to say it, but planning for 2016 will be here soon. So how was your growth performance for the 1st Quarter? Did you meet your organization’s referral, admission and ADC growth goals? Does your organization even have growth goals? There are many that don’t- and without establishing goals, an organizations growth cannot be measured.

Strengthening the Core

How strong is your core? Having a strong core of Nurse Case Managers is key to growth and success. And having a consistent regular team of Case Managers is fundamental to providing quality services and a set of referral sources who trust your hospice. So how do you strengthen your core?

Why do Some Hospices Make it so Hard?

I am a having a bad month!! I wrote in a post a few weeks ago about how difficult it was to get one of my Homewatch CareGivers clients hospice care. Well it happened again – This time with another hospice in my community, one I respected very much and for whom I once worked. Here is what happened and some lessons learned for all of us.

Are There Still Opportunities to Serve & Grow?

Are there still opportunities to serve more people and grow?? I read an article by Rich Chesney who suggests that hospice is stuck in a rut. The article took an 11-year snapshot of hospice utilization, only to find that while hospice utilization was growing at the beginning of the period, that utilization seems to have plateaued. As in most industries that have reached a mature state in their development, doing things the same old way to serve more patients and grow has only gotten hospices limited growth. Add to that, increased regulatory scrutiny and pressure, and hospices are finding growth harder to come by and they become even more conservative about who they accept and keep on service. The data in Mr. Chesney’s report shows that the opportunity for growth is there. And I agree with him. The challenge is to create better ways to serve referral sources, provide a superior patient and family experience and truly understand the value propositions for each segment you are targeting and deliver.

The First 24 Hours

The first 24-hours when a patient and family start hospice service is key to the patient experience and also related to the rate of revocations. The best way to grow your census is not to lose any business you already have. Providing the most outstanding service and care within the first 24-hours is a key strategy for growth.