By Christine Lang, MBA
Director of Data Analytics
Did you know that almost half of all Medicare patients are discharged from the hospital with no post-acute care?
What opportunities to improve patients’ experience and potentially long-term outcomes are hospitals missing by not referring patients to home health or hospice referrals upon discharge?
But not all hospitals match this national benchmark. Discharge hospice referrals rates vary due to patient needs, local trends, and individual hospital practice patterns. Discharge to home health rates range from 14% to 38% in the most populous states in the nation. Discharge to hospice rates in those same states range from 2% to 9%.
Intel and your messaging
Understanding how hospitals in your community engage with home health and hospice agencies is a powerful piece of intelligence for two reasons:
- It identifies hospitals that are potentially under-utilizing home health and hospice. There may be value in engaging with those providers in a conversation about the range of benefits of home health and hospice, for the patients and for the hospital.
- It identifies hospitals that already value the important role that home health and hospice play, as reflected by higher rates of hospice referral to these settings of care. These hospitals may represent great referral partners, particularly if your agency provides better quality of care or care transition services than the agencies the hospital currently tends to refer to.
If you are seeking to drive hospice referrals from one of these hospitals to your agency, the next important data to understand is how tight their referral patterns are now (do they tend to have the majority of their patients cared for by a single agency, or are their patients spread out across a number of agencies?), and what agencies they tend to refer to (who is your competition, specifically?).
Again, we see dramatic ranges of practices and patient movement patterns — most hospitals have more than five HHAs and at least three hospices receiving hospice referrals from them. Hospitals’ primary referral partners (that is, the agency that is receiving the greatest share of referrals from that hospital) receive as little as 15% and as much as 82% of HH referrals, as little as 24% and as much as 96% of hospice referrals.
The data can surprise you
Do you have a firm understanding of these patient movement and referral patterns? Even if you think you know who gets referrals from whom, the data might surprise you. Getting your arms wrapped around actual market intelligence, including how hospitals, SNFs, and physicians engage with home health and hospice is essential to creating a data-driven agency strategy, and to effectively prioritize your limited time on the areas of highest priorities for growth or improving the quality and productivity of your hopsice referral relationships.
If you don’t have that data at your fingertips, or if you have it, but you aren’t using it because it’s too time-consuming or complex and confusing, ask us about the SimiTree Market Analysis Platform (MAP). It can give you access to the most intuitive and powerful market intelligence in the industry.
Join us for a free webinar
On Dec. 1, SimiTree Growth Solutions Director Melynda Lee and I will co-present a complimentary webinar titled, “A Guide to 2023: Growth MAP Possibilities, Expand Potential, Sidestep Pitfalls.” It’s the first presentation in a two-part webinar series designed to demonstrate smarter strategies for deploying limited resources and finding the most value in your market.
Join us to learn more about strategies, tools, and processes to guide your planning and deliver a more prosperous new year. Register here.