Since the Home Health CAHPS (HHCAHPS) results were first publicly reported on Home Health Compare (HHC) in April 2012, the impact and consequence for performing poorly on HHCAHPS measures has changed significantly. Home Health Agencies are now accountable for their performance on quality of care and patient experience outcomes in a public and increasingly competitive manner. Consider that in the last few years our industry has adopted a publicly available Star Rating display on a set of patient care outcomes as well as patient experience/satisfaction outcomes. Much like shopping for any other service, the star ratings can and will impact a patient and/or caregiver’s decision on which agency they will consider to receive care.
I feel I have a responsibility, one garnered from nearly forty years in this field to honestly express what I see and feel related to how we as an industry are approaching our future. From this perspective I want to respectfully say I believe that as an industry and as leaders, we are not doing enough. We are not coming together to aggressively take responsibility for redefining, reshaping and re-energizing our field. As an industry, we seem to be passively watching while others define us.
Competent supervisors are always worried about ensuring that their subordinates have the technical skills to do the job but they are equally concerned about their staff having the interpersonal skills essential for strong team building and customer service.
Amid the changing regulations and continual reimbursement constraints, why is the CAHPS® Hospice Survey good for the industry? The answer is standardization. Hospice providers will soon be included among a long list of other Medicare provider types who use an outside vendor to administer one standardized survey tool with results submitted to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
We as leaders, managers, and staff in home care and hospice today are extremely busy. We have reports to review, meetings to attend, patient problems to solve and, in general, fires to fight. As fire fighters, we run the risk of developing a reactive mode of managing our organizations based on the crisis of the day. Instead, we should be focusing on developing and deploying strategies on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis that create a pathway for us to follow in the pursuit of the targets and goals that we have created for our organizations.
The path forward for leaders in home health and hospice is to create a future where the provision of incredibly high quality care is delivered at a price point that shifts the value curve of healthcare towards HOME. How can we do that when the challenges of reimbursement cuts, mounting administrative regulation, mounting staffing and operating costs, healthcare reform pressure, and an increasingly competitive market place threaten our sanity? The answer is simple, we move ourselves forward and develop a new future by creating a culture of success through Higher Leadership.
For successful agencies, growth is inevitable. However, to ensure continued success, that growth must be effectively managed. Unfortunately, increased demands combined with multiple workarounds often lead to major operational problems, and inevitably a reduction in success.