What we hear: July, 2015

The proposed rule for 2016 is a continued step in the wrong direction for all home health providers – whether for-profit like you or even non-profit agencies.  While ObamaCare is primarily responsible, blame must also be placed on those providers who insist on following their own set of rules.  While 95% of agencies are actually providing valuable care, it’s the 5% that should not be in business that brings down the entire industry.  We all know who those providers are without having to mention any by name.

But there is another responsible party that should share in some of the spotlight – the same organization that is supposed to help the home health industry.  The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) was gushing with pride when the Affordable Care Act was passed.  Press releases were issued praising the wonderful legislation and calling it a momentous day for home care in America.

Okay, so it passed – and the wonderful legislation has turned your once profit-generating business into a sluggish enterprise.  Some months you make money and some months you lose money.

2016 is going to be a repeat of 2015, but tighter.  Your profit margins are going to continue to shrink and likely cash flow will get a little more sluggish.  What can you do? Analyze your operating model and your overhead structure.  Reduce office space, look at software vendors that perform well and make back office functions easier, while at the same time allow clinicians to document on the go.  Efficiency and continued decreases in overhead are going to make your agency strong.

With the new addition of Star Ratings to Home Health Compare – you are going to find a new wave of marketing in the coming months.  Make sure your agency is also prepared for this in 2016.  Don’t be surprised if you drive by your competitor’s office and they have a large banner out front announcing they are a 4 star Medicare Home Health provider.  If you are a 4 star agency, then you should do this too!

2016 is going to be a very good year for some agencies and a struggle for others.  But with proper planning now, you can have a good year. We said something very similar last year at this time and have seen agencies that were struggling in 2014 make a resounding turnaround in 2015.  To continue the momentum, they are also planning on getting ready for 2016.  Let us know if you would like some ideas on how you can start to make your agency move forward and be the success you want it to be in 2016!

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