News, Private Duty

Look inward and follow these key steps when your home care referrals drop

If you can’t keep referral sources engaged and content, you are one good competitor away from losing your position in the market.

Taking the time to set solid expectations and guidelines for your entire agency — and focusing on providing an out-of-this-world customer experience — will have far reaching returns.

If you see referrals falling, consider treating your whole agency instead of just the symptoms. You will most likely see an increase in census and a prevailing culture of growth from a team that knows each person makes a difference.

Evaluate your agency’s approachability

Agencies all work with someone who lacks a filter. Some folks can be incredible caregivers but lack communication skills. It’s really an agency’s responsibility if it lets those people communicate with referral sources.

One bad attitude on a bad day can lose a referral-providing physician or facility forever. With stakes that high, an agency cannot afford to risk our customer experience.

The resolution is to evaluate and educate. When you find team members who lack the level of customer service you’d expect, take time to educate them or simply remove them from the phone queue.

Consider your referral process, too

Some referral sources seriously consider which agency provides the best service, offers the best care and has the most trusted outcomes. However, many simply look for the agency that’s easiest to work with.

When you get an order, do you call the referral source and ask for more information?

Agencies benefit when they streamline the admission process to get it right the first time, reducing the number of calls and requests it takes to meet state licensure and accreditation standards for private duty.

But keep in mind that the rules regarding private duty are based on state licensure and accreditation standards and can vary widely from state to state.

Many times it is crucial to take these efforts in order to secure accurate documentation. Bear in mind, however, that another provider is prepared to admit the patient without bothering the referral source — and that provider may be perceived as more efficient.

Education is the key to resolving this conflict of interests.

It’s not just your staff that needs education here. It comes down to you educating your referring physicians or discharge planners on the process.

Either way, keeping referral sources content is often directly related to how simple and streamlined it is to work with you in comparison to other providers.

About the author: Jason Lewallen formerly served as director of sales and marketing for Home Health Solutions LLC. A version of this article first appeared in SOLUTIONS, the monthly e-newsletter produced by HHS.