To say that 2020 has been a year like no other for the post-acute care industry is accurate…yet the entire story revolves around more than the novel coronavirus. Yes, PAC providers, like everyone else, continue to deal with the trials and triumphs of the COVID-19 pandemic. But with greater emphasis on value-based, patient-centric care, the home health care industry has also been adjusting to its first year of PDGM, and skilled nursing facilities are in their first 15 months of PDPM. Above all, post-acute providers have recognized the importance of collaboration, and how working with the right partners enables them to continue providing top-notch services while figuring out the “new normal” on the fly.
Angels Care Home Health Faced Workforce Challenge
One of our clients, Angels Care Home Health, quickly recognized in March that its business operations would have to change to accommodate the virus outbreak. Now 21 years old, with 71 offices and 1,300 employees in nine states, Angels Care Home Health serves 8,000 patients daily. Anthony P. “Tony” Miller, MPT, chief operating officer of AngMar Medical Holdings, Inc., which manages Angels Care Home Health, says it was an all-hands-on-deck effort to alter course.
“We’re a combination of large providers and others with only one or two people. We had to rally quickly to enable our people to work from home, getting them the right tools and connectivity. As many as 75 of our people have worked from home at one time or another this year, approximately 20 percent of our back-office staff.”
Document Management Now Seamless and Efficient
Tony explained that prior to partnering with Forcura, most of its document management and communications with referral sources were done at the local level. Physical faxes were uploaded to charts at each branch. “We didn’t have the ability to manage our face-to-face and physician order workflow from a distance; we’d have to literally fly people to our offices to cover local back-office personnel vacancies.”
Now, with Forcura’s Document Workflow solution on board, the integration of all documentation in one place keeps everything running smoothly.
“With Forcura, we have people in Texas able to assist with the management of outstanding orders and care plans in Ohio, or someone in Kansas assisting with patient referrals in Oklahoma – even from their homes. We are currently able to be so much more efficient with our document management, as your cloud-based platform allows our employees to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time on their key job responsibilities. It enables our leadership team to have visibility to local office performance, such as the average time it takes to get plans of care sent out, signed and returned, and the time required to get patient encounter notes back and do follow-up communications with referral sources. It affords us an opportunity to easily identify referral sources that need coaching or further training to remain compliant in the ever changing home health and hospice spaces.”
From a clinical perspective, Tony says Forcura has been a great motivator for its nurses. “We don’t have email access for many of our clinicians, so Forcura gives us a medium to communicate with them at both the office and the field levels. During the peak of the outbreak, we were able to send them audio messages applauding their efforts, highlighting success stories, and encouraging them.”
Referral Timelines Got Even Better
Although Angels Care Home Health had a good process in place for managing new referrals, its collaborative relationship with Forcura made it eager to be a beta client for Forcura’s Referral Automation with IQ. Forcura’s IQ technology eliminates the need to sort through volumes of inbound documents looking for referrals, by
- detecting and directing referrals to a priority work queue, and
- automating patient demographic data capture and sync with integrated EHRs.
What has it done for Angels Care Home Health? Tony says it’s made their lives easier and more productive. “Forcura has reduced the time it takes us to input referrals by 50 percent. The input is highly accurate. Plus, it’s decreased our lost referrals, which we otherwise might have lost to another home health agency.”
Growth Strategy Continues, With the Right Support
Tony is bullish on the future of the home health and hospice industries, although he expects further consolidation of smaller organizations and perhaps greater participation of private equity groups. Despite the pandemic, both Angels Care Home Health and Angels Care Hospice continued their acquisitions this year – and Tony credits Forcura with helping that happen.
“Forcura flows seamlessly into our Homecare Homebase software system, and it allows us to perform at a high level from the standpoint of both billing and clinical documentation. Without these efficiencies, we would have had to dedicate more resources and attention on managing our offices rather than expanding our company.”
Tony ended by saying that agencies often get burned when their software vendors make big promises and then don’t deliver. But his experience with Forcura doesn’t fall into that category. “The promises [your sales team made] were very, very, big, I’m not going to lie! But I feel like you have lived up to those promises...Forcura told us the cost of the product would pay for itself in labor efficiency, and from our perspective, that’s true. For every dollar that we have spent for Forcura, it has paid for itself in labor efficiency.”
Definitely music to our ears! Contact us if you want to learn more about Forcura’s workflow, care coordination and analytics platform for post-acute care providers. It might just be your key to a banner year in 2021.
As Chief Strategy Officer, Annie Erstling is responsible for driving growth at Forcura. She oversees the company's strategic planning, product innovation, marketing and strategic partnerships. She has experience launching new brands, products and companies across the healthcare and technology sectors.