Gentiva is the largest home health provider in the country. This is why Kindred is getting ready to perform a hostile takeover and reach 47 states with their combined services. Amedisys, Almost Family and LHC Group are the smallest of the four and operate under many regional brands.
Amedisys, the second largest home health company in the country, just can’t seem to get anything right lately. Founder, CEO and Chairman, William Borne, ‘stepped-down’ in February a few days after Valentine’s Day. We are assuming with a broken heart since he has left the company he started in his living room.
Amedisys has to complete handing over $150 million, plus interest by the end of October because they committed fraud, but didn’t commit fraud. Since Amedisys has enough access to credit lines, money can buy innocence without any admission of guilt or wrong doing.
One good thing about public companies like these four is that certain benchmark statistics are released quarterly. Since the companies operate across the country in rural locations and cities, the data is a good place to get a general feel for how well the industry is doing. The data presented is also a good way for you to benchmark your agency statistics against industry peers who are also for-profit.
LHC and Almost Family are the two winners for the first quarter of 2014. Both continue to have strong profit margins, even with declining reimbursement. These two companies have offset declining reimbursement with volume. Through acquisitions, both companies have been able to gain ground and remain viable through more admissions which result in more visits and more reimbursement.
In the table below (Financial Data), the average profit margin for the big 4 was less than 1%. Amedisys is severely battered, losing more than $12 million.
What does the data tell us? Increased patient census leads to greater profit and improved cash flow. All of these companies innovate. Some do less than others, but they still innovate by refreshing programs, rebranding and explain what home health is and all of the great patient benefits. If you do this with the magnificent abilities that you know your agency has, you will be able to make excellent strides.
Message is power. Fine tuning your message to referral sources and potential patients is a huge step forward. This one act of redefining and repackaging what you already do doesn’t cost very much. This strategy also doesn’t take a lot of time either.
Instead of saying you provide therapy and nursing in the home, try this: We extend the care you received at the hospital to your own home by providing nursing and therapy services. Our staff comes to you so you can recover in the comfort of your own home.
One thing you need to be very aware of: Those two statements were all about the patient. ‘We’ was only used once. Instead of talking about your agency, you need to paint a picture for the patient that makes them feel they are the center of the universe. Put yourself in the patient’s position and use the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ whenever possible in marketing materials.
CHAP and Joint Commission certifications are great for agencies to have and a huge credit to those that worked hard to achieve the recognition. But a patient or family who is going through a stressful time in their life doesn’t always know or understand the meaning of these credentials. We know they stand for clinical excellence, but you need another way to explain your clinical excellence without including the orange or gold logo. The patient and the patient’s family are concerned about who is going to get to see their loved one as quickly as possible and which agency is going to provide the best care. Your clinical excellence is already understood when you are the selected agency!
To keep operating as you did in the past is not going to help you in the future. Being dynamic and providing quality patient centered care is what you need to do in order to be successful. Adding new revenue sources and programs will help you buffer against continued decreasing reimbursement. Make the patient the focus and zero-in on what your agency is going to do for the patient and the patient’s family. You will be remembered for this and when you are remembered you will be rewarded with more referrals!