Friends, for the last 29 years I have been working in post-acute care. For the last 9 years, I have worked in helping post-acute care providers such as home care, home health, and hospice organizations grow their census.
One account type that I most often hear presents a challenge for agencies to get referrals from, is local hospitals.
Yes, local hospitals have their own companies that provide post-acute services and they often refer directly to their organizations.
However, I also know that these organizations also refer to other providers. Now, the reasons they refer to other providers are vast:
- Patient at hospital lives across State Lines
- Out Of Service Area of Home Health Staff
- Lack of Staff
- Insurance is not accepted by Home Health (or pays too little so they farm out those patients)
- The discipline needed not available in patients’ location
- Patient request for another agency
- Patient already on services with another provider
- The patient had the hospital’s home health several times in the past and the patient is non-compliant. The hospital’s home health farms the patient out.
- The patient was on a home health service from the community and the patient requested to have that agency when discharged.
Getting into a hospital is a big deal because of the sheer volume of referrals for post-acute care providers.
Here are four ways that I can share with you how to become one of the hospital’s agencies of choice.
Build a business plan to go after the doctors that have patients who are admitted to the hospital you want to work with
Most hospital websites have a physician listing. Start qualifying each of these doctor’s offices and make sure they have the willingness and the ability to refer to you.
Then start calling on them and get their patients on your companies services. Now, when one of these patients gets admitted to the hospital you can go visit the patient. Stop by the nurse’s station and ask them to page the discharge planner for your patient.
You will be able to introduce your company and ask questions to see what challenges they have with referring patients and how you can help. You can also add a form to your admission packet that the patient requests you when they need services.
Start making sales calls to the hospital’s ER physicians, social workers (if they have one), and to the discharge planners.
By following the High Performance Sales Process and using the Roadmap to Referrals to have a purpose for your sales calls, you’ll be able to unlock these referral sources. This is the best tool to expand someone’s knowledge of who to refer and help them get a patient to instantly pop into their mind when you use our Trigger Questions™.
Buddy up with someone else that is also calling on the discharge planners and is already getting referrals from them.
Consider partners like DME, IV infusion pharmacies, Oxygen suppliers, and Wound care companies. If possible find someone who will take you for 4-8 weeks straight. Then you should have the ability to access these accounts without your buddy. In exchange, you take that salesperson into your top account(s). I would suggest you do this for maybe 4 accounts each. You both walk away with 4 new referral sources!
Note: This next tactic is so often done and yet it is my favorite one. It has given me the highest return.
Go directly to the hospital’s owned home health provider.
Their agency can never handle all the volume so they have to refer to community providers. Now, as I mentioned earlier, they want to give you and other community agencies all the bad patients. You know the ones if you went through our orientation program.
- High-cost Medicare patients
- The patients who make their outcome reports look terrible
- Frequently non-compliant patients
- Non-medicare, the worst insurance payers
If you can still make a profit with the lesser payers, you stand to gain an immense amount of business. You can also teach them, that you could take that costly patient but you need to stay balanced with healthy payers so you can serve everyone. Share with them that you need a Medicare patient to go with the worst payer.
If you’re a smart rep with an owner who knows their cost, then go and call on their intake department. Approach them by asking them questions to uncover who you can refer to them because you can not serve a patient type. For example, you can send them patients with insurance that you don’t/can’t accept.
Ask who they need help with, what area, discipline, or payer. The good thing about getting in with a hospital is whenever new insurance is coming into town, that insurance company asks the hospital what post-acute care providers they should also offer contracts to. This is how my company got contracts with every payer in my market.
If you want your sales representatives to be able to break into hospital systems we are here to help you.
Melanie and I have found a way to coach representatives for rates much less than we charged in the past. We have found a way to shorten the time that it takes for reps to succeed. Let us manage your team today.
Keep Helping, Keep Serving,
Cheryl Pelekis, RN “The Solutionist”
PS: Want to see this lesson in video format? Check it out below: