Recognizing your Referral Sources at the Holidays

You may still have Halloween candy lingering around the house, but if you're not already thinking about holiday client appreciations, you're behind.

The holidays provide an excellent opportunity to recognize your referral sources in a memorable way. The first step in planning your remembrances is to brush up on a few health care reform guidelines and statutes to make sure you are on the straight and narrow:

  1. The Stark Law (The Stark Law is a healthcare fraud and abuse law that prohibits physicians from referring patients for certain designated health services paid for by Medicare to any entity in which they have a “financial relationship.”)

  2. Federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“The AKS is a criminal law that prohibits the knowing and willful payment of "remuneration" to induce or reward patient referrals or the generation of business involving any item or service payable by the Federal health care programs”)

  3. State regulations. (If you're not sure about whether something you have planned is legal or in compliance with your state's rules, check with your local legal counsel. Remember, just because another home health company is doing something doesn't mean it's legal.)

By keeping these guidelines in mind, you can stay compliant and still show your appreciation for the excellent working relationships you've developed. It's important to remember that the gifts given can't reflect the volume of referrals provided by the physician. The best solution is to provide the same gift for everyone.

Here are a few giveaway ideas:

  • For a conservative approach, stand out with a holiday card that subtly reinforces the value of home care. Make sure to sign it by hand -- extra points for having your entire leadership team sign it.

  • Make a charitable donation to a group that supports a relevant health care issue (American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, etc.) and let your referral sources know that in lieu of gifts, your company has chosen to support the worthy charitable cause.

  • The holidays are an excellent time to distribute branded home care calendars. These not only educate about the benefits of home care or hospice or when a referral is appropriate, but these attractive calendars will be referred to all year long, putting your referral information in prime position countless times.

  • If opting for a more traditional nominal holiday gift, try to make it a little unusual. For example, if you've decided on a coffee mug, look for one that's distinctive in shape or function. Try to come up with something that will be useful for the recipient: maybe an essential oil diffuser, phone power bank, umbrella, or a smart lunch tote. For help navigating your options, contact TAG Partners today at 866-232-6477 x 2018.

Visit our web store for your home health and hospice client appreciation gifts. We are a full-service print shop and an ASI member, so if you don’t see what you are looking for give us a call at 866-232-6477. We specialize in special.

Heart Disease and Home Health

The Fall of the year is a time that traditionally brings family, friends and celebration to mind. It’s also a time when many people tend to overindulge in food and drink. While this behavior might not have repercussions for young healthy adults, adults with poor cardio heath could be increasing their chance of developing Congestive Heart Failure.

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is the progressive deterioration of heart function as a result of any number of cardiovascular disorders or conditions that overwork the heart. CHF is not curable but it can be managed in its earlier stages with medication, lifestyle changes, and careful monitoring. Care plans vary depending on the underlying cause but many require some form of cardiac rehabilitation. Choosing home health as a rehabilitation partner can maximize a patient’s activity tolerance, provide better case management, and help identify any signs of disease progression.

Home health care improves outcomes for CHF patients while minimizing the risk of complication and readmission. Many agencies are now using telemonitoring systems to closely monitor their CHF patients. Telemonitoring has been found to decrease hospital admissions, improve patient satisfaction, and reduce overall cost of care. 

As the disease progresses home health support is a good solution for managing medicines, and transitioning after a hospital stay. Advanced CHF patients should consider a private duty care service to help with daily tasks, housekeeping, and running errands. Remind your referral sources about the benefits of including home health, private duty, and hospice as care partners for their CHF patients.

Get the word Out:

We have disease specific materials for Home Health, and Hospice that provide patient education while promoting your agency’s services. Visit the TAG webstore for information on our CHF Management Guide for Physician flyers, CHF Health Care flyers for patients, and our  Guide to Hospice and the Patient with Heart Disease brochures.

Recognizing Family Caregivers

November is National Family Caregivers Month. Make a commitment to honor the loving people who dedicate countless hours and resources caring for a chronically or terminally ill relative.

It’s not unheard of for a family member to care for an invalid loved one at home, but these days family caregivers are being asked to shoulder immense responsibilities while balancing work and home obligations. These caregivers are often unprepared to manage the complex nursing required for someone suffering with a serious chronic condition. The physical and emotional demands of long-term caregiving can lead to anxiety, depression, compromised health, and financial hardship. .

Home Health, Private Duty, and Hospice provide services that can assist family caregivers. Many of these services are eligible for Medicare and private insurance coverage with physician referral. Be sure your marketing resources inform families about the in-home services available to help with: skilled nursing, symptom management, pain management, nutritional support, wound care, diabetic care, IV therapy, respite care, companionship and homemaking services.

Here are some promotional ideas:

  • Call on Human Resource agencies in your service area about promoting your care services on their employee portals. Explain how your agency can help caregivers achieve better work-home balance. Ask them to link to your website for detailed information and a one-on-one assessment. 

  • Sponsor a family caregiver event in your community. Discuss long-term planning, care options, and home care services. Invite financial planners, lawyers, social workers, and the full spectrum of home health and private duty providers to speak.

  • Family caregivers usually accompany their loved ones to doctor visits so be sure to provide your referring physicians with information about your respite care services.

  • Add a link to the Caregiver Action Network’s Family Caregiver Story Project on your website to show your commitment to helping caregivers find the resources they need. Visitors can read about the experiences of other family caregivers and find condition specific information to help them in their care giving role.

Visit the TAG Web Store for all your Home Health, Private Duty, and Hospice marketing materials.

National Epilepsy Awareness Month (NEAM)

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. It was established to educate the public on the facts about epilepsy, in hopes of dispelling some of the misconceptions surrounding the disease.

Epilepsy, the fourth most common neurological disease in America, is a disorder where periods of abnormal brain activity produce seizures. It is generally treated with anti-epileptic medications to regulate the electrical activity in the brain and minimize seizures. For most people there is no definable cause for their epilepsy, but there are some cases that can be traced to: 

  • Genetic tendency

  • Trauma as the result of a severe head injury

  • Brain damage as a result of a tumor or stroke

  • Infectious diseases like meningitis, AIDs, and viral encephalitis

  • Prenatal injury such as infection in the mother, poor nutrition, or lack of oxygen.

  • Other neurological disorders like autism or neurofibromatosis

Home Health Care providers routinely care for patients recovering from stroke and other debilitating brain conditions. Contact your referral network next month to remind them of your agency’s patient outcomes and the important role Home Health can provide those struggling with frequent seizures.

Living with epilepsy can make a person feel as if they have no control over their life. Home health assists patients to manage their condition by carefully documenting their symptoms, seizures, and outcomes. This information can be a valuable tool in refining seizure management.

Seizure management starts by avoiding known triggers. Some known epileptic triggers include:

  • Sleep deprivation

  • Alcohol and drug use

  • Stress

  • Drug interaction

  • Certain foods

  • Acute dehydration

  • Extremely low blood sugar levels

During this month-long epilepsy awareness campaign, provide tips on what to do when someone is having a seizure on your social media sites:

Epilepsy Foundation – Adapting First Aid Plans: https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/seizure-first-aid-and-safety/adapting-first-aid-plans

CDC – Seizure First Aid: https://www.cdc.gov/epilepsy/about/first-aid.htm

Visit the Tag Web Store to procure your Home Care Flyers and other Home Health and Hospice marketing materials.

National Home Care and Hospice Month coming up in November…

We would all prefer to age gracefully in the comfort of our homes. Many adults are turning to home health, palliative, and hospice care in order to make that a reality. These health services are now a leading choice of care among the disabled, and the chronically and terminally ill.

This November honor your staff for the work they do in caring for those who can longer care for themselves. Promote the fact that your patients receive personalized health care in the privacy and comfort of their own homes. A typical Home Health Team consists of: Registered Nurses, Licensed Vocational Nurses, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapists, and Speech-Language Pathologist.

Educate patients and their families about hospice and the physical, mental and spiritual support it provides those families facing a terminal prognosis. Let them know that choosing hospice is not giving up, but rather a decision to focus on pain and symptom management. It is surrounding yourself and your family with a care team that specializes in helping terminally ill patients enjoy the best quality of life they can in the time they have left. A typical Hospice Care Team consists of: Medical Director, Registered Nurses, Nurses’ Aides, Social Workers, Hospice Chaplains, and Trained Volunteers.

Celebrate the dedicated care givers in your agency who work together to minimize anxiety and discomfort for those facing a life-limiting illness, and enable patients to face the end of their lives peacefully in the comfort of their own home.

“It is highly appropriate in November that we celebrate the nurses, therapists, aides, and other providers who choose to use their lives to serve our country’s aged, disabled, and dying. No work is nobler, and no group is more deserving of our respect and admiration.”  – Val J. Halamandaris, former NAHC President

  Ways you can Highlight your Agency and the Services you Provide:

  • This November, honor physicians who understand and support the work you do for their patients through your social media posts.

  • Educate physicians and patients about palliative care and how it can assist those recovering from a serious illness.

  • Distribute FAQ brochures to all the libraries and coffee shops in your area. Be sure to leave them at community counters wherever possible.

  • Make the lives of your patients and their family caregivers easier by giving them a clear guide that shows them when their symptoms require a call to emergency services, to their home health nurse, or require no action at all. Zone flyers make this simple and are personalized to your agency.

  • Set up a booth at community events this month and distribute agency materials, including disease information brochures personalized to your agency. These brochures educate about specific conditions and tell how home health, private duty or hospice care can help.

 Visit www.tagwebstore.com for all your Home Health, Private Duty, and Hospice Marketing essentials.