A Shift Toward Value-Based Care: What Every Agency Should Be Considering

3 Big Changes in Home Care – Part 1 of 3

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As of recently, home care providers have been making a major shift toward value-based care. Here’s what that looks like. 

Like it the old fashioned way?

You’ve probably noticed: there’s been a recent buzz surrounding value-based care and it’s starting to pique the interest of the home care community.

With recent talk of expansion in the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Model (HHVBP), the home care industry has a lot to look forward to (and adapt to).

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to discuss some of the biggest changes in home care and any changes you can anticipate in the near future.

Value-based care has been around for a good chunk of time, but as of recently, we’re now seeing a major shift towards value-based care on the horizon. Here’s what that may look like.

What is value based-care?

Value-based care is focused on a payment model that incentivizes an increase in the quality and outcome of service clients receive. The goal of value-based care is simply to be proactive, rather than reactive meaning that providers are identifying and handling problems before they even become one.

Many care organizations have begun to shift emphasis from the quantity of service they provide to the quality of care provided. Although this is increasingly popular in healthcare, it’s important that home care providers start to adapt to these changes ahead of time.

As said by HHA Exchange, “Over time, compensation for in-home patient care will increasingly be based on keeping patient populations healthy, rather than on the number of services performed.”

Whereas the fee-for-service model (which is typical for home care) pays based on quantity, the value-based care model pays for quality.

The shift to value-based care is bringing more attention and long-deserved credit to non-medical home care and highlighting its important role in the healthcare continuum.

Why value-based care?

Value-based care is beneficial for home care providers in many ways but one of the most significant being the likely increase in client satisfaction.

When providers are paying extra attention to the level of care given and its outcomes, clients and their loved ones will be more pleased with the care provided.

Other benefits of value-based care include:

According to Guy Tommasi, Owner of LIFETIME Care at Home, “Value-based purchasing is coming and we need to reinvent how we do private duty.” He also noted that “We, in the home care industry, have done a lousy job in presenting ourselves to the rest of the care continuum. As home care evolves into value-based vs. fee-for-service, we need to be able to show…our value. You can’t just say ‘We’re a great agency that gives high-quality care.’ That doesn’t work anymore.”

What you should be measuring/tracking

Since value-based care relies on having a proactive approach to problems, you need to have a way to identify them before they happen.  Obviously seeking out potential problems isn’t going to happen overnight, which is why you should be constantly tracking/measuring and evaluating your agency’s metrics.

Some of these might include:

  • Hospital readmission rates

  • Hours completed by staff

  • Client Satisfaction Scores/Net Promoter Scores

  • Care plan follow-through

While the list of metrics and data you could be tracking is endless, we highly recommend starting out with hospital readmission rates and what might be affecting any fluctuations in those numbers.

One of the most critical ways that home care agencies add value to the care continuum is by reducing the number of clients readmitted to hospitals.

Begin by first noting your care with a new client – When were they admitted? When were they discharged? You can track this by simply using an Excel spreadsheet or your scheduling software.

Then assess their risk for hospitalization. What is their likelihood of going back to the hospital? If there is a great risk of this, there are a few steps you can take such as wellness checks, follow-up doctor’s appointments, and more frequent medication reminders.

To track hospital readmissions there are a few tools you can use. Most scheduling software provides you with the capacity to do so or allows you to make custom fields to track on your own. You should also be noting any trends that continue to pop up to help target those for the future.

With the risk of readmission, every client should be given an individual care plan that takes into account any specific factors that could cause it. Evaluating each case on an individual basis will significantly reduce readmissions.

Next steps

It’s easy to see why value-based care is the next big thing. In an industry where you’re caring for clients with critical needs, the quality you provide should be a priority, which isn’t necessarily hand-in-hand with the fee-for-service model.

With home care constantly changing, you might be wondering where to go from here. Aside from closely watching your metrics, you’ll want to survey your clients to see where you’re succeeding and where you might be falling short. Using surveys will also allow you to learn more about some of the current outcomes and results of your services.

The bottom line: Focus on the care you’re providing rather than the quantity of those you’re serving and any next steps you take will fall in line with value-based care.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s blog, as we dive into part two of the biggest changes coming in home care. We’re going to be discussing why you need a differentiator and how to implement it. You won’t want to miss it.

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