Taking Care of People Who Take Care of People

How Culture, Communication and Technology Help One Home Health Agency Thrive

Forcura recently had the privilege of hosting a webinar entitled, "Mission-Driven and Tech-Enabled: A Conversation with Concierge Home Care and WellSky.” Concierge Home Care's Founder and COO Linda Murphy, and WellSky’s Director of Operational Consulting Cindy Campbell, joined me to discuss how Concierge prepared for PDGM - and as it turned out, COVID-19, as well. We also looked at strategies to help home health agencies weather the storm of 2020 and successfully move forward.

Investing in Internal and External Communities

Five-year-old Concierge Home Care has grown rapidly to nine Florida locations and 500 team members, seeing 3,500 patients per day, including 2,800 with skilled nursing and therapy needs. With an incentive plan that drives accountability, Linda said, “Our mission is to inspire our people to be the very best they can be every day. If we take care of them, they will take care of the patients.” Cindy praised this culture of clear values and shared commitment, adding  “When you set expectations, provide tools to help meet them, and offer feedback on both achievements and areas for improvement, you can better manage your business through both stability and times of chaos or volatility.” 

Concierge began preparing for PDGM a year ahead of its arrival, and easily adapted when the novel coronavirus arrived in the U.S. The company committed to no staff reductions, and has forged a very strong connection to its geographic locations, communicating that loud and clear when the pandemic hit. “We let our communities know that they’re important to us, and we’re available to take care of anyone who needs it, including COVID patients,” Linda explained. For example, in Jacksonville, FL, home health care agencies and hospitals collaborated like never before. “In areas where our relationships were more mature, we thought outside the box together and did some amazing things. This deepened our relationships, and we now see each other in a different light. We have a team, a community and referral sources who all know we’re going to step up to the challenge.”

Cindy stressed the importance of this communication related to capacity and specific availability of services and resources.  In addition to collaborating with other agencies and community resources, you can strengthen your agencies’ positioning in the market. “It’s never a bad move to get to know your competition,” added Cindy. “In our increasingly transparent world, collaboration builds confidence and competence, both internally and externally.”

KPBs: How to Move the Metrics

Cindy likened Concierge’s focus to what she describes as KPBs or Key Performance Behaviors. “KPIs give us the metrics, but KPBs reveal the underlying drivers, or behaviors necessary to move the metrics. You need to know whether employees are adopting desired processes as part of their daily work behavior if you are going to achieve today’s goals.” Cindy used timely care initiation as an example, noting a KPI reflecting the percentage of admissions occurring within 24 hours.

“People now come to home health care sicker than ever before. Leadership sets an expectation of working to start patient care will begin in those first 24 hours. The key performance behaviors (KPBs) underneath successful execution of this KPI reflect use of tools needed/used to achieve the goal. For example, do intake and scheduling employees have the will, training in best practice and technology-tools needed to make that performance happen? How can they be more productive? When you make the right moves to help your people embrace the correct behaviors, the KPIs will head in the right direction – and the cash will flow.”    

Behaviors are changing in physicians’ offices, too. “They’re now doing digital information transfer, after years of everything happening on paper,” Cindy noted. “The adoption of more efficient practices across the continuum could help everyone reach the goal of better, more affordable patient care.”   

People + Process + Technology = Amazing Results

Speaking of metrics, Linda was excited to share that Concierge has made huge strides in reducing its days to final. “By using Forcura for orders tracking, our days to final are down to between 16 and 19. It lets us see right away where we’re behind and where we’re not. With our sales people unable to get into offices for order signatures as they did in the past, they love the [mobile application’s] scanning capability. Nurses can get the information they need right in front of them, so they stick to protocols. Plus, if we didn’t have the platforms in place, we wouldn’t have been able to efficiently blend in the new teams from our two recent acquisitions. The integration of Forcura and WellSky is a beautiful thing!” 

Concierge isn’t the only home health agency involved in consolidation, according to Cindy. “Although we’re seeing some agencies choosing to leave the industry, M&A activity has been very strong. That said, be prepared to recruit ahead of volume, with the ability to flex staff both up and down.”

Value of Home Care on the Rise

From a nursing perspective, Cindy pointed out that home care isn’t where you go to “kick back” at the end of your career, noting the advancing levels of practice now common in home health. Linda agreed, saying that home health care is being seen in a whole new light given its ability to deal with higher patient acuity. “Even payers are thinking in different ways now. We’re seeing some patients at home who previously might have been in the hospital or in a SNF. We can now match the right patients to the right settings. If we share our knowledge across the board, it will drive all of us to be better – and the patients win!”

Technology Should Enable Your Success

As a partner with Concierge, it’s gratifying to see that Linda and her business have fully translated their mission and commitment to “take care of people who take care of people” into a phenomenal success story - for their patients, their employees, and their bottom line. We at Forcura are mission-driven too: we strive to empower better patient care. Being aligned with WellSky means we can amplify the return on your EHR investment. We’d be honored to be a part of your success story - contact us today!

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As Forcura's Director of Communications and Brand Strategy, Kate brings a robust background and knowledge of the healthcare and post-acute industry to Forcura. She also represents Forcura as a social media ambassador at events around the country, is an on-camera reporter and interviewer, and host of our Innovate Jax podcast.

Connect with Kate on LinkedIn.

Topics: Innovation & Interoperability in Healthcare

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