Mobile technology that enables more preventive in-home care will be among the most important factors driving the success of home health companies competing for managed care business, Addus HomeCare CEO Mark Heaney recently told analysts while announcing positive fourth quarter earnings.
One of the nation’s largest home care companies, with a 21-state geographic footprint, Chicago-based Addus has been positioning itself as some of its key markets transition home- and community-based services to a managed care model. Illinois, where the company originated, is one of those states; private insurers such as Aetna are in the process of taking over from the state in managing benefits for many Medicare and Medicaid recipients receiving home care.
Asked about what differentiates Addus from the competition in winning business with these increasingly important managed care organizations, Heaney emphasized Addus’s technological capabilities and its workers.
“Our objective is to not only deliver the care that we are required to provide to keep these folks at home and safe in the community but it is also train the aid … and then provide a technology so that the aid can observe and report changes in condition as early as possible so that the help systems can intervene as early as possible,” he said.
In particular, Addus is focused on deploying a mobile portal in its managed care markets, featuring a contact center that is available to consumers around the clock.
“Our contact center is the technology hub of our new care system through which we increasingly gather, analyze and react to the data generated during consumer visits, making us more efficient,” Heaney said. “The contact center also centralizes the back office activities historically performed in our branch location, freeing our branch teams to focus on the consumer and our employees in the home, where our consumers are and where our services are delivered.”
Improving efficiency is an important goal of managed care organizations (MCOs); the managed care model was designed with financial incentives for MCOs to ensure quality care is provided at lower costs than in traditional fee-for-service models run by public agencies.
While the home care market is competitive, Addus has greater scale than the many smaller organizations dominating the landscape, COO Maxine Hochhauser noted. Addus has the technology to meet state mandates regarding electronic visit verification, which some of the smaller operators are going to have challenges with, she observed.
The company does not plan to dramatically increase information technology spending in 2015, Heaney said.
The ongoing Illinois transition to managed care has been subject to some growing pains, which suppressed new customer referrals in the state and negatively affected sequential census growth from the third to the fourth quarters last year, Heaney explained. However, he expects this to be a temporary situation.
Overall, Addus reported a net service revenue increase of 18.3% from the fourth quarter of 2013, from $69.9 million to $82.6 million. Net income from continuing operations increased 16.6%, from $3.1 million to $3.6 million.