4 Key Takeaways From the 2020 Home Care Growth Summit

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February 5th and 6th marked the advent of the home care industry’s largest all-online conference to date: The 2020 Home Care Growth Summit. Here are four of our team’s takeaways.

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In case you missed our emails about it, February 5th and 6th marked the advent of the home care industry’s largest all-online conference to date: The 2020 Home Care Growth Summit.

The Summit featured 20 of the top leaders in home care, including successful independent agency CEOs like Jeff Wiberg of Family Resource Home Care, leading franchise CEOs like Emma Dickison of Home Helpers, and other experts like Geoff Nudd, CEO of ClearCare.

It was quite the event—and while it’s over now, it left us plenty to talk about. Two days of education provided insight on everything from training sales reps to preparing for an acquisition.

For those who weren’t able to attend, we strongly invite you to join us on future webinars and virtual summits. In the meantime, however, we’ve put together a list of some of the most important things we learned from the event.

Here are four of our team’s takeaways.

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#1: While Medicare Advantage represents a significant opportunity for home care, that opportunity is much more available to larger, more established agencies for the time being.

There was general consensus that while this could change in the future, Medicare Advantage may be a difficult nut to crack for many agencies right now. There are several reasons for this, but three key reasons are the necessity of scale to maintain profitability, the caregiver turnover issues that arise from short shifts, and the advantage of size in making strategic partnerships.

The issue of scale comes down to profitability. Because the average Medicare Advantage reimbursement rate is around $16/hour, turning a steady profit with Medicare Advantage requires a large number of clients to compensate for the razor-thin margins. In addition, these shifts tend to be much shorter, requiring more caregiver travel time for fewer billable hours. The right Medicare Advantage partnerships could provide a continual pipeline of new clients, but without the advantages stemming from economy of scale, it’s unlikely that an agency could succeed with the low margins that accompany them.

Caregiver turnover risks with Medicare Advantage are not a new development, but they were underscored several times during the Growth Summit. It’s commonly accepted that one of the key drivers of retention is providing them with lots of steady hours. The short shifts with Medicare Advantage require careful steps by agencies (such as planning shifts with multiple clients in the same area) to prevent higher caregiver burnout.

Finally, the process of securing agreements with Medicare Advantage plans is typically a high-level partnership that favors larger, well-established agencies with a long track record of patient outcomes and clear resources to further build upon that track record. While it’s not out of the question for a well-run, newer agency, securing these partnerships is much easier with a history of success and a network of community partners.

Medicare Advantage remains an incredible future opportunity, but for many home care agencies, it could prove more of a distraction than anything for the near future.

Note: This is an opposing viewpoint from another article we recently published on the topic. While this appeared to be the general consensus of the presenters on the Summit, there’s still plenty of room for debate.  We’ll continue to update our content on Medicare Advantage as more information becomes available.

#2: “What gets measured, gets managed.”

By our count, at least 5 of the 20 presenters referenced this quote by Peter Drucker, a management consultant in the 1950s-70s who became known as the father of modern management.

The principle is clear: with any given data point (be it caregiver turnover, sales close numbers, or profit margins, among anything else), it’s hard to improve it unless you’re tracking it. And once you are tracking it, it’s much easier to find ways to improve it because you’ll be able to identify what initiatives will make a true impact.

At Home Care Pulse, we harp on this constantly: our services focus on helping agencies track their data better because without tracking things like client/caregiver satisfaction, you’re left without any reliable indicators that you’re not only providing consistent service but continually raising the bar.

#3: Long-term care insurance represents a viable payer source that many home care agencies aren’t taking advantage of.

Sheila Davis, VP of Area Operations at Always Best Care, is among the most knowledgeable payer sources experts in the industry today. During her presentation, she took us on a deep-dive into the advantages and disadvantages of various payer sources. One key payer source she highlighted was long-term care insurance.

If you’re not familiar with long-term care insurance, here’s Sheila’s slide on how it works:

long-term care insurance for home care agencies

One way to look into pursuing this payer source is to reach out to the nearest Area Agency on Aging. This is a network of approximately 622 nonprofit organizations nationwide that serve the elderly populations of their local areas.

#4: Most home care agencies need to put more focus on converting new leads into clients.

Several presenters talked about this topic in-depth. When we reached out to Caring.com to ask that one of their experts discuss the importance of online marketing on the Growth Summit, they asked if they could discuss how to convert online leads instead because so many agencies struggle with it.

A critical part of closing with more leads is simply to track every inquiry. After all, what gets measured gets managed. Any discussion on closing with more leads included instructions to track sales KPIs more closely and establish a process that ensures no one slips through the cracks by lack of documentation.

In the annual Home Care Benchmarking Study, we compare the revenues of agencies that track every sales inquiry vs. those that don’t. The gulf in revenues between these groups is vast.

home care sales ratios

A few steps that could help many agencies improve their sales conversion rates:

  1. Ensure that you’re tracking every inquiry, your inquiry-to-assessment ratio, and your assessment-to-close ratio.
  2. If you’re not using a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) to track your sales efforts, start using one. You can learn more about CRMs for home care here.
  3. Consider seeking outside help from consultant groups like Home Care Breakthrough Solutions, Hurricane Marketing, corecubed, or Home Care Sales. These are seasoned professionals with deep experience in home care and have helped many agencies establish more effective sales processes.

There’s A Lot More Where This Came From

If you attended the event and have feedback (positive or negative), we’d love to hear it. Feel free to email your thoughts to [email protected].

If you missed the event, we strongly recommend you take advantage of the other resources we have available, including webinars, benchmarking studies, eBooks, and blog articles. Our Resource Library is free!

Our team is also in discussions about what future virtual summits could look like, so keep in touch for news on that. If you’re not subscribed to our emails yet, use the blue box below to subscribe so you can stay in the loop and be the first to know about future events.

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