The home health care market is positioned to grow at a faster pace than any other care setting. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 65-and-older population grew by 34.2 percent in the last decade. Additionally, the demand for home health care, as well as the likelihood of a patient’s home becoming the center of care delivery, has been steadily increasing. And that was before the onset of COVID-19.
To meet that challenge, home health care agencies (HHA) need to become – and remain – preferred providers. How can they do that? By implementing the right technology solutions to ensure they are positioned to manage more referrals, from a staffing and process point of view, as well as to receive referrals that will positively impact your reimbursement.
Here’s a look at four strategies that home health care agencies can employ:
1. Make Data-Sharing Easy Within Your Network
Healthcare providers are continuously narrowing their network of referral partners and choosing partners based on more scrutinized criteria. With COVID-19 and increased reporting requirements, data has become even more essential to their decisions. By leveraging cross-continuum tech solutions, HHAs can enable seamless and robust data sharing with their partners.
Additionally, the same type of technology can enable a degree of standardization and automation, and allow care teams to streamline clinical processes. For instance, PointClickCare’s Home Health Care solution enables clinicians to import the patient’s Continuity of Care Document (CCD), which auto-populates their record and provides a more comprehensive view into the patient’s history and current needs. This includes medications, diagnoses, demographics, and allergies.
This type of technology can also enable clinicians to capture evaluations in real-time, eliminating the burden of “paper pushing,” and reducing the chances of inaccuracies. This automation can set HHAs up for preferred provider status because there is confidence in the credibility of the data.
2. Streamline Referral Management Processes
When the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) was implemented, the home health care billing cycle was cut in half, from 60 days to 30 days. For prompt reimbursement, agencies need to get started as soon as possible.
With a streamlined referral management process, a home health care agency can get an immediate, comprehensive view of a patient’s characteristics from the referral source. The sooner an agency can complete the start-of-care visit and meet all the clinical requirements, the faster they can receive their reimbursements. To ensure maximum reimbursement, LUPA thresholds need to be met within the first 30 days, and monitored during visits in the second 30 days.
Additionally, by streamlining referral management, patients are more likely to receive care sooner, which can be a significant factor in lowering rehospitalization. This can also positively contribute to an agency’s CMS Five-Star Quality Rating, and in turn, affect reimbursement levels.
3. Improve Outcomes and Reduce Hospital Readmission Rates
In 2009, CMS began publicly reporting hospital readmission rates. Additionally, as part of the Affordable Care Act, the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) was established. Through this program, CMS has reduced Medicare payments to hospitals with readmissions within 30 days of discharge for certain conditions.Ever since, hospitals have been increasingly scrutinizing senior care providers within their networks. Now, to earn referrals, HHAs are expected to have data-driven conversations with hospitals, and that includes demonstrating their ability to reduce hospital readmissions and promote better clinical outcomes.
With 39 percent of seniors taking five or more prescriptions each day, a lack of medication management is often cited as key drivers for hospital readmissions. To change that, HHAs are increasingly making in-home medication management a core component of their operations, and are turning to technology to help.
Home health care platforms with comprehensive clinical documentation can enable agencies to monitor readmission risk status. The right solution can allow all caregivers involved in a patient’s care to view every detail of a care plan so that everyone is on the same page, working towards the same goals from the onset of care delivery.
4. Leverage Mobile and Telehealth Options
More and more, our customers are becoming increasingly interested in using mobile apps, such as PointClickCare’s Care at Home Clinical app, as well as integrating telehealth solutions into their existing technology stacks. In fact, it’s almost commonplace, as part of the patient intake process, for agencies to determine if patients have an appropriate device, a WiFi connection, and are comfortable with a virtual visit.
Assessments aren’t the only way that home health care agencies are applying telehealth technology. For existing patients who aren’t comfortable with in-person visits at this time, or for agencies that are short on PPE, remote monitoring devices in patient homes are tracking vitals such as weight, blood pressure, and pulse.
Achieve Preferred Status in Your Network
For most home health providers, the intake process can directly impact their ability to grow, provide care, and bill. Having the right technology in place and giving care teams tools that make their jobs — and lives — easier will keep them happy, engaged, and make all the difference. With PointClickCare’s solution, caregivers have immediate access to updated health history and care plans associated with their patients. Additionally, assessments and visit notes are designed with simple controls and selection lists to allow quick and easy data entry. As a result, caregivers are able to quickly develop care plans for patients, and have more time to focus on their relationships with patients and referral sources. With the proper solution, providers can remain compliant while maintaining workflows that drive-high quality care, and build credibility with referral partners by demonstrating those outcomes.