Sunday, September 30, 2012

Selling to the C Suite

Muffin Marketing is Dead.  C-Suite Selling is in.

You can no longer grow your home health agency or hospice by bringing muffins to the hospital discharge planners and working on developing a personal relationship.  Hospitals are blocking access to discharge planners like never before.  There are too many sales reps, and discharge planners are over worked and under appreciated.

If the future, if you want to get a steady flow of referrals from your local hospital, you'll need to learn how to manage C-Suite Selling, and make a compelling cast to the top executives that your agency can save them money, reduce their stress, or help their marketing process.

There are seven steps in the home health care sales process.  Let's look at how each one applies to selling the C-Suite.

1.  Prospecting.  Find our the names, titles, and contact information for the hospital executives who are being help accountable for reducing hospital readmissions, and for reducing the overall cost of hospital care.

2.  Make the Approach.  Develop a clear, concise strategy for getting an appointment with these key decision makers.

3.  Develop Rapport. Rapport is a harmonious relationship based on trust, confidence, and comfort. We have shown that good rapport is 90% of the sale.  If you have a good relationship with a high potential prospect, and probability of doing business goes up. If you are unable to develop that harmonious relationship, the probability goes way down.

4.  Determine Needs and Wants.  To present a home health program that will save money, reduce readmissions, and help the hospital grow, you really need to understand their business. You need to understand the multitude of critical issues that hospital executives are facing.  You need to help them get claer about which issues are most pressing that you can help solve.

5.  Present your Program.  In our sales training system, we've identified the Four P's of a Powerful, Persuasive Presentation - Problem, Premise, Program, Promise.  You need to develop specific, focused sales presentations base on your understanding of the hospitals key problems, the premise on which you can help solve these problems, the program you offer that will get those results, and the outcomes you promise to achieve if they go with your program.

6.  Close the Sale.  Ask for the business.  Use one key closing question. "What would it take for you to give us one patient referral to test our program?"

7.  Service After the Sale.  After you get that first patient, get results, give feedback, ask for feedback, stay connected, and ask for the next patient.

If you want to move your agency from Muffin Marketing to C-Suite Selling, give us a call and we'll show you how.

Call Julie Raque at 502-339-0653 to set up a telephone appointment with Stephen Tweed.

Help Hospitals Slow the Growth of Health Care Costs

Several years ago, Dr. Corey Waller, an emergency department physician at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, MI, noticed a small group of patients were frequent flyers in the emergency department.  Dr. Waller decided to quantify what he had noticed anecdotally.

Blodgett Hospital, Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, MI
The result was a list of 950 patients who had visited the Emergency Department at two of Spectrum's hospitals more than 10 times each in the previous year.  These frequent flyer miles totaled up to 20,000 hospital visits and an estimated $40 million in costs. 

Another study at Southcentral Foundation Health System in Anchorage, Alaska, discovered that most of their system's high utilization patients fall in to three categories:

1.  Patients with chronic mental illness
2.  Patients who are "medically fragile elderly"
3.  Patients who engage in self-care and have few family resources

How Can Home Health Help?

What if you were to approach the director of the Emergency Department of your local referral hospitals and offer to work with them to help identify their frequent flyers.  Then develop clinical pathways to deal with these frequently recurring chronic conditions that result in return visits to the ED, or readmission to the hospital.

Get the ED Director to encourage the Emergency Room staff to refer their frequent flyers to your home health agency.  By applying your clinical pathways to these folks, and by tracking the results, you'll be able to demonstrate to the ED Director, and the hospital administration the value of home health care in reducing readmissions and overall costs.

Apply These Same Principles to the BIG THREE Medicare Diagnoses

Once you have developed a relationship with the ED and have proven that you can help them reduce readmissions,  then approach the Director of Nursing and the Chief Financial Officer to see if you can work with them to identify the frequent flyers with the Medicare BIG Three ... Heart Attack, Congestive Heart Failure, and Pneumonia.  Over 2000 hospitals will be penalized 1% of their Medicare reimbursement.  Beginning this past Monday, 10-1-12, because their readmission rates for these three diagnoses are higher than norms set by Medicare.

Muffin Marketing is Dead.  C-Suite Marketing is IN

You can no longer grow your home health agency by bringing muffins to the hospital discharge planners and trying to build a personal relationship.  Hospitals today are blocking the way for sale reps to reach the discharge planners.  There are too many reps, and the discharge planners are over run with sales people.

In the future, you will get referrals from hospitals by proving to the C-Suite officers ... Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Medical Officer, Chief Nursing Officer ... that you can get results that are measurable, and that save them money.  In the future, content marketing is king. The agencies that can provide concrete data and information and show they can get results will get the referrals. 

The future of strategic marketing in home health care will be focused on developing proven methods to help your key referral sources solve their most pressing problems, and then developing a sales and marketing message to convince them that you can be an integral part of the future.

Stay tuned for future articles as we continue to research and report on C-Suite selling and Content Marketing.  Call us if you would like to facilitate a new strategic marketing planning process for your home health agency or hospice. 

Friday, September 07, 2012

3,000th member joins Leading Home Care Network on Linked In

This past week, the 3,000th person was approved for membership in the Leading Home Care Network on Linked in.

Tony Buccheri, International Franchise Support Specialist with Right At Home in Omaha, NE is member number 3,000.  Tony works with the master franchises in the UK, Brazil, China and Canada to help them recruit, train, and support franchises in those countries.

Right at Home now has 250 franchise locations on four continents serving the elderly and the disabled.

We are delighted to welcome Tony, and the other 2,999 members to the network for ongoing conversations about the issues facing home health, hospice, and private duty home care.

If you would like to engage in these discussions, log on to Linked In and search for the Leading Home Care Network.  Click on the join button, and you will be considered for membership. The group is limited to current CEOs, Administrators, Owners, and other leaders who are currently employed by a home health agency, hospice, or private duty company.  There are also a limited number of sponsors, affiliates, and faculty from The Academy for Private Duty Home Care.

We do not allow other vendors, recruiters, or individuals who are not affiliated with home care to be members of the group so that we can keep the discussion relevant and not be clouded with self promotion and job placement postings.  If you have suggestions about how we can make this discussion group more valuable to you, please leave a comment below.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Who will be Member Number 3,000?

This past weekend, we approved member number 2,999 to the Leading Home Care Network discussion group on Linked In.  Who will be the next person to join?  In just over a year, nearly 3,000 leaders in home health care, hospice, and private duty home care have joined in our discussions around the topics of most interest.

This group is limited to leaders who are currently employed by a home health agency, hospice, or private duty home care company.  We want this to be an active discussion, so there are no vendors, recruiters, or non-home care folks who clutter up the discussion with self-promotion or job ads.

As a result, we are getting into some very interesting in-depth discussions that you will find interesting.

Here are the current hot topics:
  • Do you and your mid-life siblings have communication problems?
  • Wondering of anyone who owns a for-profit home care company has considered starting a non-profit to serve those who are in the gap?
  • Do you have a set minimum number of hours for private duty?
  • I am amazed at the misconceptions around home care.  I talk with doctors every day who don't know much about home care.
  • How do personal care agencies handle non-compete issues with clients and caregivers?
  • Does anyone do live-in care.  If so, how do you bill clients and pay your caregivers?
  • What scheduling / management software are you using?
  • Press release from the DOJ on marketing bonuses for Medicare Agencies. 
If you would like to participate in these discussions, or start a thread of your own, just log on to Linked In and search for The Leading Home Care Network.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Comment Period Closing for 2013 Home Health PPS Rule

The deadline is 5:00 pm eastern time on September 4, 2012 to comment on the proposed PPS rules for 2013.  The proposed PPS rule that was published in the July 13, 2012 Federal Register at where you can find the process for submitting comments.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice has identified four issues of concern, and is encouraging home health agency leaders to review these issues, and make comments.

1.  Acute Care Hospitalization Claims Based Measure.

CMS proposed to use claims-based Acute Care Hospitalization measure in place of the OASIS-based measure. This would provide a more accurate accounting of hospitalization rates, especially since home health agencies must now often rely on patient self-reporting of hospital stays for OASIS.

2.  Home Health Face To Face Encounter

NAHC will once again urge CMS to rescind the current F2F documentation requirements which have proven costly to home health agencies and burdensome to physicians and support personnel, including discharge planners. Despite continuous efforts by home health agencies to educate physicians in the intricacies of F2F documentation requirements since 2010, doctors remain confused, and often uncooperative. Further, NAHC believes that agencies have incurred increased administrative costs associated with education, tracking and resending of documentation, as well as the inability to submit claims for countless episodes of care when physicians failed to document F2F encounters, or document correctly.

3.  Therapy Reassessments

The new rules regarding therapy assessments have added new burden including scheduling problems and increased costs to home health agencies. 

4.  HHRG Grouper Diagnosis changes

CMS’ proposal to ‘enhance’ the HH PPS Grouper will eliminate assignment of case-mix points to the majority of diagnosis codes that are replaced by V codes, and limit the ability to report all Diabetes, Neuro1 and Skin1 codes in the limited spaces at M1020 and 1022. In addition, CMS’ proposal could limit case mix points for fractures when coding rules require that they be reported as secondary diagnoses.

NAHC received information from over 300 home health agencies about the effect of the proposed change to Grouper logic on clinical scores. This change will reduce payment of affected episodes by an average of $200 per episode.

As we have said over and over again, your state and national associations are the grass roots of home care in America.  We encourage you to be involved in your association, and to actively participate in the legislative and regulatory process.  Take a few minutes to review these changes to the HH PPS Rule, and submit your comments.