Use the Next Two Months to Plan for 2019

Over the next month, your agency is going to find out what new regulatory matters are going to take place when the 2019 Final Rule is released. With an expected 2% reimbursement rate increase by Medicare, agencies need to start planning for 2019. The plan needs to focus on how you and your agency can hold on to that additional 2% by making your agency more profitable rather than using it to make up for a 2018 loss if one is present or squandering that increase away.

In 2018, agencies operated under enormous changes with the full implementation of the revised and new Conditions of Participation. For 2019, agencies now have the bonus of additional reimbursement, but still face the risk of targeted ADRs. With the good comes the bad, but you can make sure your agency is prepared to turn any situation to good with some effort in November and December.

November and December are two months that are great for agencies to really look back at the past ten to eleven months and do a solid, honest evaluation of what has been working and what hasn’t. This evaluation can range from administrative personnel, management, workflow management, referral management, marketing and QA just to name a few.  No area or component of your agency should be overlooked during your self-review.

The important aspect of the self-review is to pinpoint deficiencies and inefficiencies, not point fingers. Therefore, when going into this process, staff need to understand that the additional scrutiny of their department or responsibility isn’t personal but intended to focus on the greater good and maximization of limited resources – your money essentially. This can be tough when administrative staff and clinical staff go head to head.

Administrative staff tend to be more business oriented. Clinical staff are the patient advocates and don’t necessarily think like business people and therefore, only focus on what is best for patients and patient care. Management’s job is going to be to take both sides of an issue, reach a common, equitable solution and move forward.  However, in the process of reaching that solution – make sure that it makes sense … common sense. If the new policy or procedure is intended to make someone feel good rather than make the agency better, it might be time to step back and reevaluate.

The “people” part of implementing change can be exceptionally challenging.  In our next article we’ll discuss techniques for getting everyone on the same page.  See you next time!