Lost Money

graphics leaf
graphics leaf
graphics
graphics

Since the recent resignation of Governor Cuomo, more questions have arisen regarding the CPDAP RFO and other regulatory changes set to take effect soon. At this point, we can only speculate and standby. However, as the industry eagerly reshapes itself, home care agencies have more concerns over their ability to operate, reimbursement rates, regulatory oversight, and staff shortage due to unemployment incentives.

Another area of concern is the COVID19 vaccine. For the most part, the decision to take or not take the vaccine has shaped into a policitical issue as well as a health issue. Though the vaccine has is now mandated for most health care workers, home health aides were initially excluded from this mandate. As of August 26th, 2021, home care workers are now included in the vaccine mandate. A few highlights of the revised bill are:

  • Covered entities DO NOT include CDPAP at this time
  • No exemption for religious reasons - only medical
  • 1st shot is due by 10/7/21
  • Covered entities will have to submit reports regarding who is vaccinated and who has valid exemptions upon request from the DOH
  • Face coverings (masks) may be required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees and must be provided by covered entities
  • Covered entities must develop policies and procedures to ensure compliance with this ruling

In this month's blog, we will focus on how agencies can lose money with bad practices.


Is your home care agency leaving money on the table?

From our consulting experience, some agencies have been leaving money on the table, not realizing how much they are losing in revenue and adding costs to their overhead. We have identified eight common ways Home Care Agencies leave money on the table.

Having too many inexperienced staff

From management to billing and coordination, a lack of home care experience can significantly hurt your business. It's more than just having "complete body tasks." Home care is a niche-based business. We have our terminology and our unique ways of doing things. This doesn't mean that you can't hire staff that is new to home care. However, it does mean you must invest in the training and education of your new staff to meet the needs of your customers, vendors, regulator bodies, and business associates. Ownership must understand how management can support the new hire effectively, and most importantly, monitor them closely so that they continue to be an excellent fit for your company.

Emmanuel Consulting has been in the industry since 2014, helping to educate, train, and consult with agencies, build effective teams, and cut agency costs. This has been our mission to help agencies thrive, stay in compliance, and increase revenues. Don't skim on investing and training competent staff. Your patients will boast about your agency all on their own! (Great way to effectively market for free!) Preregister now for our 4th quarter DPS, Administrator, and Management Training.

Not developing a clear job description, workflow, and or system

Many agencies have been doing the same things for years just because "that is how our old DPS or Manager did it." Techniques are broken, inefficient, or even nonexistent. How do you know if a staff member should be rewarded with a bonus or raise? How do you measure employee success without a workflow or blueprint? Some Management staff members have no idea what staff members actually do all day or how long a task generally takes to complete. So how can you be an effective manager if you do not know what it takes? So many times, we have seen duplications in tasks by different departments, no accountability causing more money spent, confusion, and decreased morale. Creating a step-by-step workflow enhances productivity, enforces accountability, and makes work more efficient, thus increasing revenue and increasing profitability.

Let us help you create a workflow to streamline your processes, tighten loopholes or workarounds. Identifying clear roles and tweaking job descriptions will be a great benefit to improve your overall operations. Your agency will be in a better position if someone suddenly quits, has to be terminated, or needs a new hire to identify their duties and understand their responsibilities clearly. It would also make training new staff more seamless and a tangible tool to reference when needed to decrease learning curves. This will give them a great chance at success in their new role! Going a step further and customizing these workflows and blueprints with your employees' top languages can take your business to a new level!

Not working with third-party Consultants to help lower risks, stay in compliance, and identify ways to grow your business

Consultants can help your business in many ways. We have seen what works and what doesn't. We have learned, understood, and received clarity on home care regulations. We train, analyze, project-manage, identify and solve agency issues. Hiring a Consultant can help you identify your agency's strengths and weaknesses and position yourself for growth or continued growth. Conclusion: many types of Consultants can include Clinical, Compliance, Wage Parity Compliance Consultants like Wage Parity Experts, Accounting, Risk Assessment, Human Resources, Quality, Business, and Regulatory Consultants. Investing in your business to ensure you are meeting all compliance, protecting your business, growing/streamlining processes through technological advancements, language advancements, recruitment/ career growth, or acquisition will position your agency to maximize profits.

Not going digital

Since EVV was for Medicaid recipients, we have seen improvements in technological advancements and how computers/software can be more efficient and take fewer employees to do the most work if used correctly. However, remember always to utilize all the features of digital products to maximize your investment. Many times agencies will use one component in a software system but still do other things manually. This also hurts your bottom line. If you are not using all the features you can to improve your agency, you could lose money. All software systems are different, so work with your vendors to get things the way you need them for your own customer/agency experience. Taking the time to do this is worth all of the money. Not implementing all the computer systems and their components has been significant in leaving dollars on the table. You are paying the entire bill for the system but not using all the aspects to help your business. Take the time to train staff, implement, monitor, and evaluate the systems fully to get the best value.

Not using all the reporting features on compliance software - features made to help you analyze your agency compliance and productivity.

Management should utilize reporting features, analyze them against previous reports, and quantify the trends to improve your home care program. Numbers help you to understand how your business is functioning. If you do not have a baseline or the ability to analyze progress continuously, it will be tough for your staff to understand where they are falling short or doing well. It also prevents managers from providing support to staff effectively on a day-to-day basis. You may see that employees may continuously have the same issues, which leads to burnout. It's like running a business blindly. To understand if you are using all of the authorized hours allocated for each patient, basic reports like overtime or utilization in hours are imperative to know if you are losing money. Moreover, reports that help identifies how many caregivers visited a patient in a specified time frame can show if continuity and quality care is being rendered.

Additionally, reports that identify when authorizations are received to when services are rendered can show timeliness in receiving care. Similar information on the recruitment and retention side can also determine how fast you are onboarding new caregivers or where in the process you may be losing prospective employees. This can help you save on big bucks when you realize loopholes in your human resource department and recruitment or perhaps identify your competitors' advantages. Who wants to have an orientation class of 50 new employees but only 5 employees are hired and work with your agency? That means that your HR department kept busy onboarding people who never made one dollar for your company. You're falling way in the negative from paying your HR salary, paying overhead on space, software, fingerprinting, and so many other areas. These reports are also great for continuous quality improvement programs (CQI) and can help DOH Auditors identify if you have been holding up standards that they have put forth. Don't skim on writing the meeting notes to comply with the regulation. Further, writing notes to check off that it was done without adequately auditing sample files and analyzing the results leaves so much money on the table. CQI meetings are meant to improve your agency's program and identify strengths and weaknesses, and even analyze cost and save you money.

So why don't so many agencies take CQI seriously? For one, CQI's are not reviewed until you get a state audit, so agencies think it doesn't matter. CQI's help identifies issues and allows you to self-correct them. Don't wait to be audited to improve your agency. Also, you may want to dig a little deeper and audit each department like coordination, intakes, and billing instead of just sticking to the routine topics included in every CQI, such as complaints, incidents, patient charts, and employee charts.

Not nourishing the relationship between your professional contacts and network

We have seen agencies that have not connected with their contracts/vendors in months, improved their relationship since they received the contract, or spend time meeting the needs of the community they serve. This harms your relationship with vendors. Some agencies have had the same rates for years despite wage parity and compliance changes. Growth starts with trust, networking, building, and producing results. In this day and age, some agencies still have no networking personnel, team, or social presence to nourish relationships, and thus their business diminishes. Spending the resources on marketing for your specific agency is essential. To profit in any business, you must put back in a portion of your profit to keep your business running, a principle some often forget.

Not reviewing contracts like commercial lease space, office equipment, third-party staffing contracts, salaries, etc.

There are countless dollars lost in commercial space. Do you need all of the space you have? Or have you re-negotiated your commercial contracts? Sometimes business owners shy away from legal services due to high hourly rates, but it is essential to understand that when you have poorly written agreements or contracts that you have failed to review, it can be more costly in the end and money lost.

Not going with the trend (Niche based services) and listening/supporting your employees

Some agencies lose money because they do not track and analyze their intakes. An agency that enjoys growth and is structured analytically may appreciate tracking data like cases refused and not taken. Maybe you will need to hire a new specialty team, invest in further training, add another line of business/product or open a new site. It may be worth it if you do the research. Don't forget about the heart of your business, the caregivers. We must ensure we give them the tools they need, encourage continuous learning, and ensure wage parity compliance. But even more so, giving them autonomy of selecting their benefits, investing in their retirement and future with a leading third-party administrator, Wage parity Experts. Don't leave money on the table.

Some agencies lose money because they do not track and analyze their intakes. An agency that enjoys growth and is structured analytically may appreciate tracking data like cases refused and not taken. Maybe you will need to hire a new specialty team, invest in further training, add another line of business/product or open a new site. It may be worth it if you do the research. Don't forget about the heart of your business, the caregivers. We must ensure we give them the tools they need, encourage continuous learning, and ensure wage parity compliance. But even more so, giving them autonomy of selecting their benefits, investing in their retirement and future with a leading third-party administrator, Wage parity Experts. Don't leave money on the table.

As the 4th quarter approaches, we hope that you create and visualize goals for the new year, so you don't leave money on the table but recirculate to grow and scale your home care business. It's never too late to create or tweak your business plan or add market research to see if your next move will be a profitable one. So let us help you and grow with you. To learn more about our DPS/Administrator LHCSA 4th quarter training and to preregister, visit us on the web by clicking here.

You may also book a mock survey to decrease your chances at deficiencies, citations, and penalties call us so we can assess your risks at (516) 362-3000 option 3. We will be happy to help meet your clinical, operational, business, and compliance needs.

I’m A Chatter 🙂