By Tom Meyer, Chief Program Integrity Officer of HHAeXchange
It’s hard for home care agencies to grow. With much of their time focused on billing, schedule management, compliance and other day-to-day activities, there isn’t a lot of time to look at growth opportunities. With the federal government rolling out new mandates related to EVV and Medicaid standards of care, even more focus from home care agencies is going into these areas. For many businesses, preparing for growth is a challenge, and thinking strategically about how to expand the business takes a back seat to day-to-day operations. Home care providers can make growth a top priority by improving and streamlining in four key areas:
- Increase referral revenue: The only way for an agency to increase revenues in a sustainable manner is to increase referrals from payers and hospitals. As a provider scales, manual tracking and referral management isn’t feasible. Agencies should instead implement an integrated system that allows for direct communication with the source, whether that be insurance companies, managed care organizations, or state and federal payers.
An integrated agency management system also allows providers to track marketing efforts to gain insight into what campaigns are driving referrals and where they should invest more resources. For example, if Hospital A is driving 30 percent of your referral traffic, you may want to invest in efforts to improve the relationship to keep those numbers up.
- Simplify human resource processes: Managing the labor force, and all the compliance issues that come with it, is a challenge for most home care agencies, and the administrative time spent on HR compliance can inhibit an agency’s growth. Whether you’re tracking certification renewal dates or managing new aide applications, the labor market is complicated. Providers who find a system that is custom-built for the home care workforce will have an advantage, as they’ll be able to track compliance requirements for employee training, certifications, background checks, evaluations and forms all in one platform. Additionally, the system ensures home care agencies stay in compliance with state regulations, and even notifies the agency if an employee falls out of compliance.
As your referrals increase, providers will need to hire more quality aides – not always easy to find. Streamline the hiring process with a system that provides an automated application portal. The portal will eliminate duplicate data entry and simplify the hiring process, giving you more aides with less effort.
- Automate billing and payroll: Consider the time you spend processing payroll and issuing invoices. Now imagine what more you could do with your time if you had an automated billing process. An automated system can streamline authorization management by alerting providers to when service authorizations are coming to an end, saving money and time spent servicing a member for whom the agency will not be reimbursed. By reducing human error and providing agencies with accurate data, agencies can also reduce denials for claims and receive their deserved reimbursements.
- Simplify scheduling with an integrated dashboard: Scheduling and ensuring each member is appropriately matched with an aide is an issue every home care agency faces, especially when they are doing the work manually. Automating the scheduling process with an integrated dashboard allows management to spend its time focusing on growing the agency, rather than on administrative tasks. A scheduling system can automatically pair members with the aide capable of meeting their specific needs, provides a real-time EVV dashboard, can ensure all scheduling is done within the authorization and reduces unnecessary overtime staffing.
All in all, the underlying theme here is simple: Automate agency processes to allow more time for fostering agency growth. When management can scale back administration, they can focus their efforts on expanding their agency and providing the best possible home care services to members.
Tom Meyer is Chief Program Integrity Officer at HHAeXchange. In this role, he ensures that HHAX’s platform helps all home care stakeholders comply with state regulations and prevent fraud, waste and abuse. He previously served as New York State’s Acting Medicaid Inspector General.