Are you Ready for National Doctors’ Day?

This month and especially on Doctors’ Day, be ready to acknowledge your referring physicians who champion home health and hospice care. After all, physicians are the supporting limb of the home care referral tree. Home health and hospice agencies depend on the endorsement of these medical professionals who entrust them with the care of their patients.

Doctors’ Day was first observed in 1933 by Eudora Brown Almond who decided to set aside a day to honor her husband and other physicians for their dedication to healing. She selected March 30th to coincide with the anniversary of the first use of surgical anesthesia. In 1991, President Bush signed the observance of Doctors’ Day into Law:

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation by President George Bush

 More than the application of science and technology, medicine is a special calling, and those who have chosen this vocation in order to serve their fellowman understand the tremendous responsibility it entails. Referring to the work of physicians, Dr. Elmer Hess, a former president of the American Medical Association, once wrote: “There is no greater reward in our profession than the knowledge that God has entrusted us with the physical care of His people. The Almighty has reserved for Himself the power to create life, but He has assigned to a few of us the responsibility of keeping in good repair the bodies in which this life is sustained.” Accordingly, reverence for human life and individual dignity is both the hallmark of a good physician and the key to truly beneficial advances in medicine…. NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 30, 1991, as National Doctors Day. I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs and activities.

 

Here are a few ideas you can use to show your appreciation to the physicians in your community*:

  • Send personalized cards to all the referring physicians in your network.

  • Promote Doctors throughout the month of March on your social media sites by highlighting physicians and their role in promoting wellness in the community.

  • Reach out to all the physicians in your community with Doctors’ Day remembrance products. It’s an incredible way to show appreciation, introduce your agency, and build new business.

  • Contact medical office directors in your area and walk them through Transitional Care Management and Care Plan Oversight. Two ways that physicians can bill for services that may be overlooked.  Take along print media they can share with their staff to illustrate the process.

  • Host an appreciation lunch for the physicians new to your community. Partner up with local agencies such as the Realtor association, YMCA, education association, Rotary club, garden club, or Chamber of Commerce to make it a complete welcome wagon affair.  

Visit tagwebstore.com to order your personalized Doctors’ Day products

*Be mindful of regulations regarding compensation for referrals. 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.

Make it easy for physicians to know when it’s time for hospice

Although the country seems to be more comfortable with the need for advance care planning, particularly evident in the recent CMS decision to allow physician reimbursement for these conversations, let’s face it, many doctors remain uncomfortable with the idea of hospice or even discussing hospice care with their patients.

All too often, patients begin hospice care so late in their disease that they only receive services for a few days when they could have been experiencing improvement in quality of life and symptom management for much longer.

As hospice companies continue their efforts to educate physicians about the good hospice can do, it can be beneficial to use tools to help doctors know when it’s appropriate to refer a patient with a particular diagnosis.

These referral materials should include the hospice eligibility guidelines and the related tools needed to determine whether a patient meets the criteria.

TAG Partners has created several materials to help you in your educational efforts and help you accomplish your goals of building strong referral partnerships.

• Guidelines for Hospice Admission flip charts are among the most popular educational materials TAG Partners produces. These coat-pocket-sized coil-bound booklets cover the criteria for hospice admission for a variety of diagnoses.

• Hospice Pocket Reference Guides offer a condensed version of the eligibility criteria as well as information on pain management, common problems, commonly used medications and tips for dealing with difficult patients.

• The new Hospice Eligibility Quick-Reference Guide provides an at-a-glance single-sheet reference for desktop use.

All three materials include information about the New York Heart Association Functional Classification, the Palliative Performance Scale, and Functional Assessment Staging.

While you’re discussing hospice eligibility with physicians, make sure they know about the new advance care planning payment rule. Check out this blog entry for more information.