Home health agencies: Your CMS star rating is a great marketing tool

Competition is fierce in the home health care industry, and savvy consumers have more information than ever to help them decide which provider will be the best for their family. Are you doing all you can to help ensure patients and their physicians have easy access to your key outcomes scores to help nudge them along the way?

Conveying this information is easier than ever now that CMS has released two different star ratings to allow an at-a-glance look at what may some of the most credible data about your company.

Although the Quality of Patient Care Star Rating and the Home Health Patient Experience of Care Star Rating (HHCAHPS Survey star rating) are easily accessible on Medicare’s Home Health Compare webpage, patients and physicians often aren’t digging into the data to make their home health provider decisions.

Here are some ways you can call attention to your agency using your star ratings.

  • A good star rating is worth sharing. If you haven’t already released a press release to tout your 4-star or 5-star rating, get ready to brag a little about your recognition with the next release of scores. Send a press release out to your community’s media out lets and email an announcement to your community partners. Doing well is a big deal; make sure they know it.
  • Use your outcomes scores and star ratings to show referral sources just how much more effective you are than your competitors at caring for people living with certain conditions. TAG Partners has created a line of Outcomes Brochures for Physicians that list the services you offer for a specific condition and your patient outcome scores compared to state and/or national averages in graph form. TAG also has created logos for the CMS star ratings and can feature them prominently on the brochures.
  • Put your star rating on all your collateral materials and communications materials so the recipients know at a glance that you have been rated highly. The logos created by TAG Partners for the outcomes brochures listed above also can be applied to any of the other marketing and operations materials we provide.
  • Don’t forget your online presence. Include your star ratings on your website home page or about us page. Most consumers start their search for a home health agency online — give them as much easily digestible information as you can.
  • When your agency does earn excellent star ratings and positive outcomes scores, don’t forget to recognize the people who make it all possible: your staff. Send out a congratulatory email announcement thanking them for their hard work. If you can, schedule a small office party or feature the announcement prominently in your internal newsletter.

July digest: Red hot ideas for more referrals

National Safe at Home Week is Aug. 23-29. It’s an ideal time to get out into the community and educate about the potential dangers lurking in the place where we should all feel the safest: home.

  • Distribute Home Safety flyers at health fairs and other community events. The flyers are personalized with your agency’s logo and contact information and include information on fall prevention, fire safety and general household safety. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/health-care-flyers.php.
  • Show your referral sources this month that you are committed to ensuring patient safety. Integrate patient education guides for fall prevention into your services for those at an elevated risk for a fall. The guides also are an eye-catching tool you can use to show referral sources how seriously you take this issue. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/patient-education-guides.php.
  • Host a free educational class at your area senior centers on the importance and basics of fall prevention. Find a ready-made class at www.tagwebstore.com/healthmatters-education-series.php.

Celebrate your community’s seniors this August by taking part in Senior Citizens Day (Aug. 21, 2015). This fast-growing group has long been behind social changes, and they’re not going to stop any time soon. Make an extra effort to recognize your community’s vital older adults and show them the benefits of home care.

  • Show prospects (and their physicians) just how successful you are at improving certain conditions with outcomes brochures for patients and physicians. The patient brochures educate on home care and the services you provide. The physician brochures outline specific programs and compare your agency’s outcomes scores to state or national averages. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/patient-outcomes-physicians.php and www.tagwebstore.com/patient-outcomes-senior.php. Outcomes brochures are 50% off through July 31 and highlight the new CMS Quality of Patient Care star rating.
  • Drop by your local senior centers and host a fun activity. Be sure to distribute puzzle books personalized with your agency’s logo and contact information to all those in attendance. Find them at https://tagwebstore.com/puzzlebook.php.
  • Empower patients and prospects to take a greater role in their own health care with health log books personalized to your agency. Distribute them to existing patients and offer them to referral sources to distribute to their patients. Your name and referral information will go everywhere the patient goes. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/patient-logbooks.php.

The year is halfway over and it’s time to start thinking about 2016. Home care and hospice-specific calendars educate about common conditions and keep your agency in front of referral sources, clients and potential clients all year long. Getting your calendars early means you’ll have them ready for distribution as fall creeps closer – at the rate this year is flying by, that’ll be before you know it. In an offer available this July only, get 25% off all calendars at www.tagwebstore.com (includes wall calendars, weekly planners, pocket planners, and notebook planners).

  • Plan your outreach efforts for the second half of the year, including events and opportunities to distribute traditional wall calendars. Time-tested and durable, calendars will remind referral sources, patients and others about your services, and will make them aware of healthcare observances and any other dates that are important to your agency. These calendars are at their lowest price ever. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/homecare-calendars.php.
  • Equip your staff with durable and indispensable weekly planners. The spiral-bound planners include plenty of space to keep track of appointments and notes, and also include health care observances. Referral sources will love these, too. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/weekly-planners.php. Other great options include notebook planners (www.tagwebstore.com/notebook-planners.php) and pocket planners (www.tagwebstore.com/pocket-planners.php).
  • Hand out magnetic calendars personalized to your agency at health fairs, senior centers and all your educational events. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/magnetic-calendar.php.