Recognize professionals who can make or break your referrals

The professionals who keep our offices and the offices of all our referral sources operating smoothly deserve the extra attention they’re about to get this month. 

Administrative Professionals Week (April 23-29) is the perfect opportunity to highlight the important work these men and women do. Not only will your efforts be appreciated, but they stand to help increase your agency’s access to potential referrals as the professionals you went out of your way to recognize make an extra effort to help you succeed. 

Administrative Professionals Day is April 26. 

  • Start by recognizing the administrative professionals at your own agency. This week is all about making sure they feel appreciated and respected. Try giving them a heartfelt handwritten card along with an Amazon gift card or a copy of a business book you have enjoyed.
  • As long as you’ve got your pen out, make the time to sit down and write out (not type) a note of appreciation to the gatekeepers at the offices of your top 40 referral sources. Include a small token of appreciation such as a fun-size candy bar, single flower, or other small treat.
  • Send e-cards to the administrative professionals of all your referral sources, especially those you won’t contact in person this week. Find fun and unique cards here and here.
  • There are administrative professionals who go above and beyond to make sure you are assisted in a friendly, professional, speedy manner. Send their boss, your referral source, a note describing their excellent efforts.
  • Use your online presence to publicly recognize administrative professionals for all the hard work they do. Place a simple thank-you banner at the top of your website and don’t forget to convey your thanks over your social media streams as well.
  • Work on building your rapport with three to five gatekeepers this April. They’ll feel more comfortable with you and more receptive to your inquiries if you can find something in common. Be genuine and respectful, engage them, and pay attention to what they say, especially the details (e.g., ask how their daughter is doing by name if they’ve told you her name already).

Lead the charge for disability awareness this December

Dec. 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. It’s a day when people across the globe work to raise awareness of the contributions those with disabilities can and do make to our society. It’s also a time when we should stop and advocate for this very important group.

According to the United Nations, about 15 percent of the global population lives with some form of disability. Work to raise awareness this December and to celebrate those you serve and those in your ranks who are living with a disability.

  • Place an item on your municipal government’s regular meeting agenda seeking to proclaim Dec. 3 as International Day of Persons with Disabilities in your community. Sign up to speak at the reading of the agenda item or during the meeting’s public comment portion. Be sure to highlight the work home care does to help improve the lives of disabled clients. Here's a sample proclamation.
  • Contact your community’s office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Offer to host an educational session on a topic such as fall prevention or understanding depression. The Health Matters Education Series is a set of done-for-you classes for the senior community that is designed for a non-clinician to present. Call 866-232-6477 ext 2018 for pricing on individual components.
  • Offer your agency’s support to the Wounded Warrior Project. The organization helps aid and support injured service members. Host a community bake sale and donate the proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project.
  • Take the time to highlight your agency’s commitment to hiring employees with disabilities. Write a short piece about the need to provide employment opportunities regardless of disabilities and post it to your website or blog.
  • Promote your agency’s free fall prevention assessments at community health fairs and at senior centers all month long. Helping make the home environment safer for those with disabilities such as vision impairment, mobility problems, and other physical conditions can prevent unnecessary accidents and injuries. Be sure to hand out professional brochures on the importance of fall prevention and remember to let your physician referral sources know about the steps you're taking in this area as well.

Holiday gift giving and home care

We may have just put our jack-o'-lanterns away, but if you're not already thinking about Christmas, you're already behind.

The holidays provide an excellent opportunity to check in with your referral sources and wish them happy holidays in a memorable way. But before you do anything, be mindful of the Stark Law, and the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and any applicable state regulations. You definitely don't want your holiday gesture to run afoul of the law. 

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, that doesn't mean it's legal.

With that in mind, there are several ways you can show your appreciation for the excellent working relationships you've developed and spread holiday cheer while staying fully compliant with all applicable laws. It's important to remember that the gifts given can't reflect the volume of referrals provided by the physician -- it's really best to provide the same gift for everyone.

Here are a few 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 reed diffuser, phone power bank, umbrella, or a smart lunch tote. For help navigating your options, contact TAG Partners today at 866-232-6477 ext 2018.

November plan: Enhance outreach with diabetes education

As diabetes continues to affect an increasing number of Americans, it’s a good idea to pay special attention to this serious disease this November.

According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes and another 79 million have prediabetes — much of it undiagnosed. Forecasts indicate that as many as one-third of all American adults will have diabetes in 2050 if current trends continue.

November is American Diabetes Month and Diabetic Eye Disease Month, and Nov. 14 is World Diabetes Day. Show your community that you are the best choice for your community’s diabetic care needs.

  • Host a diet and nutrition class at a local senior center with a focus on enjoying traditional holiday meals in a healthy way. The American Diabetes Association has some great ideas to help you get started.
  • Distribute Diabetes Zone Flyers to your patients with diabetes and prediabetes. The flyers are a self-assessment tool that alerts the patient about who to call when health problems arise. The flyers are available in English and Spanish.
  • Offer free blood sugar screenings at a local health fair. Hand out your agency’s marketing brochures and any other collateral that educates on diabetes.
  • Partner with a local optometrist and spread the word about the importance of regular eye exams to help make an early diabetes diagnosis. Optometrists can detect whether unexplained blurry vision or changes in prescriptions can be caused by narrowed blood vessels. Jointly host a discussion at a local senior center about this important issue. Be sure to take the doctor and the facility director to a healthy lunch afterward.
  • Visit all the general practitioner offices in your market and educate them about your agency’s efforts in caring for diabetic patients. Drop off disease-specific flyers or brochures for their waiting rooms.
  • Send out personalized notes to your former patients or clients with diabetes or prediabetes. Along with the note, include your updated services brochure and a customized glucose monitoring log booklet that they can use and take along to doctor visits.

Step up Alzheimer’s awareness efforts this September

The number of people being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is climbing every year and there is no end in sight. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that given current trends and without a major breakthrough in treatment to slow or stop the disease, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will rise from about 5 million today to about 16 million in 2050.

September is World Alzheimer’s Month and Sept. 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day. Show your support for research to treat this serious disease and support for those living with it.

  • Commit to being a sponsor or entering a team into the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s event in your community. The walks raise awareness and money for Alzheimer’s support, care and research.
  • While a large number of Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s disease or know someone who is, there is still a great deal of misinformation about the condition. Partner with a geriatrician or neurologist and host a friendly educational session about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Distribute informational flyers about Alzheimer’s/dementia and how your agency can help.
  • Family members caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease often have a more difficult burden than those caring for loved ones without cognitive difficulties. Contact a local support group for Alzheimer’s disease caregivers and offer to sponsor the refreshments for an upcoming meeting. Ask to speak briefly about the respite services and other services your agency offers to assist those caring for family members with Alzheimer’s disease at home. While there, distribute a helpful brochure about Alzheimer’s disease and how your company can help.
  • Identify a patient with Alzheimer’s disease who has been helped by your organization. Ask the patient and his or her caregiver whether they would be willing to talk with a local newspaper or television reporter about how the disease has impacted their lives. Then contact your favorite local reporter and pitch a story that ties in with World Alzheimer’s Month and puts a real community face on the disease. Be sure to make the patient’s caregiver and your agency’s clinical experts available to talk about the disease and how your agency helps the patient and his or her family cope.
  • Identify a local politician or civic group that regularly hosts community meetings and volunteer to speak about Alzheimer’s disease, how it affects families, and the work being done to try to stop the disease. Don’t forget to take along plenty of agency collateral and also let them know how your agency can help.
  • Contact your local newspaper’s editorial board and offer to write a guest editorial about Alzheimer’s disease awareness during World Alzheimer’s Month. If this request is denied, write and submit a simple letter to the editor briefly conveying the importance of Alzheimer’s awareness and Alzheimer’s care.