12-Step Home Health Agency (HHA) Process to Improve Home Healthcare and Reduce Readmissions
Today, everyone has the requirement to be more strategic about using their money. Consider how you can better adjust to the world of “do even more with even less.” That day has arrived, even for the financially strongest and most successful organizations.
- Consider this article as a tool to evaluate where you truly are, how you can improve, and what can make your journey easier.
- Stand on the shoulders of giants, learn from the mistakes of others, and benefit from the confidential suggestions experts offered for this summary.
Leaders rightly get aggravated with their staff when someone brings them a problem without a suggested path forward or, even better, a potential resolution.
Practical action steps are needed to improve home healthcare and patient engagement to reduce the risk of readmission claw back. This 12-step guide will walk you through changes you can make within your organization.
12 Suggested Best-Practice Steps to Move Forward
This 12-step process was gathered confidentially from highly experienced attendees at the 2019 Care Coordination Technology Congress Healthcare Summit. Their insights and suggested actions have been aggregated into 12 transformative steps for improving home healthcare patient engagement and quality of care in a fiscally sustainable process.
Keep in mind that initially, many people you talk to do not know what they do not know about home health care options. Use the 12 steps below to gain the knowledge you need to determine what actions to take.
12 Steps to Improve Home Health Care Tools to Enhance the Quality of Covered Lives at Reasonable Levels — Even Saving Money in Many Cases — Grouped by Quadrant, with Three Actions per Quadrant
At the end of each quadrant section, compare your overall progress to where you need to be on your home health journey and consider options to move confidently into the next quadrant.
Quadrant I – Babe in the Wood (Limited Financial Resources, Low Home Health Understanding)
Does your master plan forward include enough forethought about key goals to ensure the flexibility needed to reduce the dreaded ripping out and reinstallation of expensive hardware and software plaguing technology applications across every industry?
- Create your version of initial selection criteria for your first area of home healthcare to improve.
- Search and obtain internal or external reports on home healthcare data and research to determine your initial baseline.
- Select your first option to pilot based on your unique situation and selection criteria – preferably the option which you can subsequently scale.
At this point, you should have a somewhat detailed awareness of opportunities and exposure magnitudes.
Quadrant II – Plaintiff Attorney Delight (Limited Financial Resources, Reasonable Home Health Understanding)
Be sure to factor in the need to ask yourself periodically if the patient (your ultimate customer) will do “this” to provide the data needed for any process. Normally, people and process considerations far outweigh technology concerns. Do not give up when your journey takes longer than you expected.
- Determine the metrics to define success and how you will accurately measure them.
- Compare this to patient-estimated direct and indirect costs and current and future competitors’ home health capabilities and successes.
- Make sure high-level sponsorship, financial, and staff supports are appropriate to create a framework for success.
At this point, most people have an initial categorization of known options and are addressing at least one issue.
Quadrant III – Land of DeNial (Reasonable Financial Resources, Low Home Health Understanding)
A key driver of your success will be how well your process and its hardware and software components move the ultimate user (the patient) from being low motivation/high risk to being high motivation/high risk. Minimal engagement from at-risk patients can rapidly turn your expensive package into a white elephant. Too many people acting like ostriches with their heads in the sand do the same thing.
- Evaluate and revise your process, when needed, to rollout your selected option.
- Reallocate and increase funding where it is needed to adjust and rollout your chosen option.
- Ensure home health is a top priority for your C-Suite sponsor.
At this point, you should have created your own unique roadmap and begun implementing at least one recommended action.
Quadrant IV – Relax a Little; But Not a Lot (Reasonable Financial Assets, Reasonable Home Health Understanding)
As you move forward to finalize a workable solution from which you can either scale or move forward, ensure you have the data needed to justify continuing support from your sponsor and CFO. In addition to an operational leader or the CEO, one of the key sponsors of your selected option may be Finance.
- Continually monitor and update your process to ensure a successful rollout and foundation for ongoing change and future steps.
- Include home health updates and monitor the corporate incentive plan for all top management, not just the CMO, CTO, and CFO.
- Test yourself through the lens of how your entire population of patients feel their expectations and needs are being met. Otherwise, the investment of time and money will not earn the ROI you expect.
Congratulations. Your initial plan is set and underway, with follow-up adaptations and updates scheduled.
- Now, move forward to the more expansive applications needed to keep yourself better prepared against the “Bad Guy:” the risk of readmission penalty, which seems to be ever escalating.
- Remember, even the mission of improving the quality of care must factor in tradeoffs.
- When properly applied, consultants and outside tools normally can speed your journey, reduce total investment, and rescue you from bumps in any of these 12 steps.
Call to Action
Rinse and repeat these steps with your next selected home healthcare option. Review and revise all policies, training, and oversight on a set and regular schedule.
Using the process above, it is possible to get a reasonable understanding of your business’s major home health opportunities and risks. You can strategically evaluate the major home health holes, blind spots, and opportunities specific to your organization. Then, rinse and repeat as experts counsel.
It’s still a tumultuous world out there, but you can take steps to protect yourself from the bad guys wanting to claw back ever dwindling reimbursements. Consider these 12 proven suggestions and apply the ones that make the most sense based on your organization’s life cycle. Taking any of these actions will help reduce your exposure to recidivism and readmission penalties and will strengthen your ability to improve the quality of care for covered lives – which is why you went into healthcare.
Learn more about home health documentation and compliance with the Home Health video series by the American Institute of Healthcare Compliance.
Gary W. Patterson, FiscalDoctor® CEO, helps healthcare leaders make more money by creating opportunities and keep more of that money by reducing risk, so that they can make better decisions. He is a key member of two INC 500 organizations, an ERM expert, a Stanford MBA, and a Big 4 CPA.