Being in sales consulting, you start to hear the same challenges over and over. Each area may have a unique combination of these challenges, but they are always the same. Hospital (or ABC Agency) has cornered the market and won’t refer out of that network, they no longer let us meet with social workers, no solicitation signs, there are too many agencies fighting for the same referrals, and so on…
I don’t doubt that these are serious problems for organizations across the country. There is one problem that just gets to me. It’s the idea that there are too many agencies and not enough patients to go around. That one has a ring of truth for some rural counties in the midwest perhaps, but rarely does it hold up for everyone else.
Let’s have a frank discussion about some numbers.
First, based on the CDC’s 2017 Census, there are (at least) 47,000,000 seniors in the US. Roughly 14.9% of the country is over 65 years old. That means that if all 50 states had exactly the same amount of seniors, then there would be 940,000 per state. (yes these are not perfect numbers including Puerto Rico or accounting for North Dakota, but you get the idea. I’m painting a picture here…)
If your business is Medicare dependent (or perhaps will become Medicare advantage dependent soon), do you believe there are enough patients? Sure, over 65 doesn’t mean sick, but even a sixth of those patients is over 150,000 per state on average. For less dense states the numbers change, but most likely the ratio of agencies to patients would remain similar.
So, are there enough patients for every agency?? YES!
There are enough patients. More than enough. Here is the thing: There are a great deal of patients that are unserved and unidentified. Most agencies are focusing 90% of their efforts on hospital discharge and so caught up in the challenges within that they don’t realize that many of the most vulnerable patients haven’t even made it to the hospital! They are still at their homes, visiting their doctors, living in facilities, or being cared for by a loved one.
It’s up to us! We have to be the unstoppable force that ensures that patients get cared for. How do we do that? We have to focus on education. We have to CREATE referral sources by helping them identify someone to refer. If they don’t know (or have been misinformed) then patients will simply go without.
I think we can all agree that post hospital discharge is often the worst time to get a patient and the more ideal setting is far before permanent damage is done. That scenario is better for the patients, the physicians, your staff, and the families of the patients.
So this week, don’t think of yourself as “just another rep” or “a distraction” to your referral sources. You are an unstoppable force who is out to change lives. If you don’t, who exactly will?
About the Author:
Jason Lewallen is Vice President of Marketing
for Home Care Sales
He can be reached at:
PS: Might want to consider…
If you are a home health, hospice, or private duty agency who struggles with:
- educating your referral sources
- not having professional handouts with the correct clinical/treatment info
- not knowing what to say to drive referrals
- not having time to train your sales team about diagnosis specific info
…then the 52 Wk Roadmap to Referrals program is the answer you have been looking for. Agencies are using this methodology to gain more referrals and position their entire sales team as experts.
It’s a plan for every week of the year and can lead to double and triple the referrals you are currently getting. The investment is a mere $500 per month. That’s less than a fraction of a referral!