It’s not uncommon in many areas of the country to have VNA’s operated by a local county health department or a partnership between local cities and the county government. This local government based agency is found in many areas, where geographic or other obstacles make operations difficult. But this isn’t always the case.
Many of the government owned agencies are struggling badly. Over the past few years, the amount of funds injected by local governments has steadily increased. This increasing burden on local government is now forcing some agencies to close as public funds continue to lag.
Most of the government owned VNAs have a Medicare and Medicaid license. Like your home health agency, these VNAs have private insurance contracts. Due to the length of operation, these private insurance contracts are usually in closed networks. As many agencies know, being accepted into a provider network under home health is quite difficult.
But what happens to a local government board decides the feasibility and financial commitment to the VNA can no longer be sustained? Two things happen. First, the VNA is closed and the patients are either discharged or transferred to other agencies. Second, the local government usually decides to sell the license or turn the provider number and license back to the state.
Since the government agencies are a public entity, anyone has the ability to review financial data and information regarding its operation on a frequent basis. Reviewing this information can give you a sense to how the governing board is handling agency deficits and budget shortfalls.
With potential closures coming in the near future, will you be ready to help fill the gap? Are you going to work on putting a potential plan in place that will help your agency pick up the slack and gain market share?
This is not only a business decision, but also a growth strategy. You should start to think about positioning your agency to acquire the Medicare number and related contracts. Better yet, you should be ready to start working on making new referral partnerships.
Using your advantage as the locally owned and operated agency, you should begin to formulate a marketing and operations plan that will allow you to step in if the VNA closes. Remember, a national company isn’t able to be flexible like your agency. They have money, but not flexibility and creativity. As the local agency leader, you can make decisions that improve patient care without waiting for a long drawn out process to occur. You can make the changes needed happen quickly and provide your patients with quality care customized to their specific needs. A bigger chain takes a while to implement changes and work on new programs. But you can get ready now and also work on improving your current operations and marketing plan for current operations.
Are you curious about different ways to grow your home care agency? Thinking about how to implement new programs and broaden the services you provide? Email me or give me a call so we can discuss what will work best for your agency and your local area. One size never fits all, and as a local agency owner, you understand this best.