Monthly Archives: July 2013

Plan for September: Living better through education

September is National Pain Awareness Month. According to the American Pain Foundation, about 50 million Americans suffer from persistent pain each year. What’s more, about one in three Americans lose 20 hours of sleep or more every month due to pain. Those in pain don’t suffer alone — their family members suffer, too. Commit to observing Pain Awareness Month by educating your community and helping them find ways to cope with the condition.

  • Hospice agencies can distribute Pain and Symptom Logs to patients to help educate them and their caregivers about the importance of pain and symptom tracking. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/painsymptomlog.php.
  • Ask your area pharmacists whether you can leave brochures at their counters about pain management and how your agency can help. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/brochure.php.
  • Give patients who suffer from pain a durable Zone Flyer that clearly shows them what’s normal, what merits a call to your agency and what warrants a call to 911. Show your referral sources that you are using this handy tool to improve patient education and outcomes. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/zone-flyer.php.
  • Leave stacks of flyers about pain management, chronic pain or arthritis in the waiting rooms of local rheumatologists, internists and family practice physicians. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/health-care-flyers.php.

High cholesterol is a problem that plagues millions of Americans. In fact, about 71 million American adults (almost 34 percent!) have high LDL or “bad” cholesterol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This puts them at about twice the risk of heart disease as people with lower levels of the substance, and only about 1 in 3 adults with high LDL cholesterol has the condition under control. Do your part to increase awareness of this condition during September’s National Cholesterol Education Month.

  • Host a free class for seniors on heart health or diet and nutrition. Find a ready-made class at www.tagwebstore.com/healthmatters-education-series.php.
  • Visit with local internists, cardiologists and family practice physicians and ask to leave informational brochures about heart disease, stroke or diabetes at their checkout desk. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/brochure.php.
  • Visit your area hospitals over the weekend and stock their waiting rooms (not just the main waiting room) with rack cards educating about heart disease, weight loss, and stroke — and how your agency can help. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/rack-cards.php.

National Rehabilitation Awareness Week is Sept. 15-21. Show your support for the rehabilitation professionals at your agency and in your community by taking part in this celebration sponsored by the National Rehabilitation Awareness Foundation.

  • Call on orthopedic surgeons and leave behind tablet mousepads that educate about your agency’s physical therapy services. The mousepads include a 25-sheet tear-off pad for note taking. Find the mousepads at www.tagwebstore.com/mousepads.php.
  • Educate your community about the benefits of physical and occupational therapy. Offer to stop in and give a short five-minute presentation about the benefits of physical and occupational therapy during this month’s meetings of your local rotary clubs, Lions Clubs, elected officials and other meetings that draw a large number of senior attendees. Be sure to leave behind stacks of physical and occupational therapy flyers. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/health-care-flyers.php.
  • Visit the offices of local neurologists and leave behind home care speech therapy brochures. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/speech-therapy-brochure.php.

Offset the 2014 CMS reimbursement cuts by increasing your referrals and census

Medicare’s proposed 1.5% cuts to home health reimbursement in 2014 are leaving many scrambling to come up with a plan to offset the losses if the changes go into effect.

The public has until Aug. 26 to comment on the proposed rule (which can be found at www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2013-15766_PI.pdf) before it is enacted, but you shouldn’t wait until it’s on the books to do something about the big cuts you could be facing next year.

When home care agencies face financial strain, they often look for areas to cut. Marketing should never be one of those areas. In fact, it’s one area where you should increase your investment. After all, you need more referrals in lean times, and today’s growing senior population makes this an ideal environment to increase your census. The only way to get these referrals is to step up your marketing.

By creating a comprehensive marketing plan and investing in areas proven to increase referrals, you stand to place yourself in the ideal position to weather the CMS reimbursement reduction storm.

Here are some ideas that can help.

  • Transitional Care Management is the newest and one of the most effective tools you have to increase your referrals. It took effect in January 2013 and allows physicians to get paid to manage their patients’ care as they transition from hospital to home. Teach them how it works and make your agency their partner in TCM. Check out our powerful new TCM tools at www.tagwebstore.com/transitional-care-management.php.
  • Care Plan Oversight is another way you can position yourself as a trusted partner for your physician referral sources. With CPO, physicians can get paid to manage the care of a patient that is using home health or hospice services. Find our CPO tools at www.tagwebstore.com/homehealthCPOkit.php.
  • Community education and outreach is an incredible way to build agency recognition, reputation and preference among the senior community. One of the best ways to do this is by hosting free educational sessions at senior centers, assisted living facilities and church groups. Our Health Matters Education Series is a series of done-for-you presentations geared toward the senior population that focuses on health issues important to them. Learn more at www.tagwebstore.com/healthmatters-education-series.php.
  • Professional brochures are vital in presenting a polished image to the community. Studies show that consumers choose many of their services – including home care – based on appearance and reputation. Get 50% off all brochures through July 31 when you use voucher code SUMMER at checkout. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/brochures.php.
  • For an intensive three-day course that will give you the education, tools and tips you need to take your agency’s marketing to the next level, check out PlayMaker CRM’s Home Care Sales Mastery University. You will learn strategies you can take home and implement immediately, as well as advice for long-range planning to set your company on course for success. Learn more at www.hcsmu.com.
  • For a larger-scale experience devoted to boosting your business’ bottom line, check out PMX, PlayMaker CRM’s Expo and User Conference taking place in Nashville this September. Find more details at www.pmxusercon.com.