5 Tips for Growing Referrals Through Fewer Congestive Heart Failure Hospitalizations

Doctors and hospitals have incentive to lower hospitalization rates among certain types of patients, and home health agencies can use this to their advantage and grow their referral base, reports Home Health Line.

This Fall, Medicare will begin docking reimbursements to hospitals that get too many readmissions from congestive heart failure patients. If the number of rehospitalized CHF patients is above a certain benchmark, Medicare will cut hospitals’ payments by 1%, the article says, and as a result, agencies who have proven their ability to prevent or reduce hospitalizations for those types of patients can profit from new physician referrals.

The problem, however, is that many physicians are reluctant to have those patients cared for in a home setting and would rather send them to a hospital, even though home care is just as effective, Home Health Line cites Judy Adams, president of Adams Home Care Consulting in Chapel Hill, N.C., as saying.

But agencies that have a good system for preventing hospitalizations have a higher chance of obtaining physician referrals among doctors who have joined hospital-affiliated practices.

This gives agencies “an opening for a conversation” with physicians regarding how they manage CHF patients in the home, according Adams. “This will not only enable your agency to build a better relationship with the physician, but also position it to drive down CHF hospitalization rates and make a better referral case to hospitals hoping to avoid readmission penalties,” reads the article.

5 Ways to Make A Case to Physicians for Referrals

  1. Talk about likely complications and work out an exact protocol for dealing with them in the home
  2. Show the physician you’ve done your homework
  3. Offer to send weekly status reports on particularly high-risk patients
  4. Show the physicians what you will do for patients on days when no visits take place
  5. Explain how you’ll help patients manage their condition independently

Read the full article at Home Health Line.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

Alyssa Gerace

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