Increasing Direct Referrals while Improving Transition of Care
Increasing quality referrals is a goal of every SNF. How we go about it varies from organization to organization but if we can target our efforts and also impact our quality of care, it is a win for all parties. There is a simple formula to do both at the same time. Engage with the Primary Care Physician (PCP) in the community. The PCP is key to the patient’s success post discharge because they are the coordinator of all services, particularly if the patient has an HMO plan. Many PCPs are the gatekeeper of all services and some have financial stake in services rendered to a patient. If you engage with the PCP’s office upon a patient’s admission, you can then advise them as to patient placement, ask who their referral manager is and if there is a preferred home health agency for DC planning. This is a great marketing technique that gives you a reason to call the office and place you in partnership position. Also, by passing this information forward to the rest of your internal team, it will save them time and frustration when a referral is needed and for DC planning. Example: Patient is on an HMO plan and needs to see a specialist outside the facility. The PCP will have to give the referral and likely has a preferred provider that they send their patients to; if SNF staff has the PCP information, the process can begin and will go more smoothly. When they do not have the PCP information, they can spend an enormous amount of time trying to figure it all out. When it comes time for DC planning, engaging again with the PCP office, setting up a post DC appointment and providing them a copy of DC summary with a medication reconciliation is very valuable. Yes, we give it to home health and the patient, but more often than not, the PCP never gets a copy. Most PCP offices will appreciate this effort and when they need to send a patient for SNF services, they will remember your efforts.
New to Medicare Advantage Plans Come 2021
For 2021, there are three major additions to the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.
- Telehealth services – expansion of services to include more specialist and flexibilities
- Adult day care services, In-home personal care services, allowance for over the counter products, Home safety modifications, and Meal delivery
- ESRD – can now enroll into a Medicare Advantage plan(s)