Partnering with Home Health to Build an OP Business

By Kelly Alvord, Therapy Resource, Sunstone-Utah
In the Sunstone market, as we continue to partner with ALF to enhance Outpatient (OP) business, a lot of emphasis has been put on strengthening partnerships with Home Health providers versus seeing them as competition. This partnership has led to increased referrals for OP services and OP growth. Here are some insights that the DORs have found helpful.

From Kirk Player, DOR Pinnacle
As far as PDGM goes from a HH agencies prospective:
● It benefits the agencies to get their patients better with as few visits as possible, including therapy. This is basically a 180 turn from the previous HH payment model.
● It also benefits the agencies to have LOS around 40 days when appropriate and possible. This allows them to enter the second 30-day period but still maintain visits to only those necessary.
We realized that in-home or in ALF outpatient therapy can help with both above points by allowing a safe d/c sooner by continuing and likely increasing the frequency of skilled therapy.
● This keeps a skilled clinician in with the patient to observe and assess any change of condition, which reduces readmissions.
● It also keeps the patient progressing with functional mobility and reduces other adverse events such as falls.

From Wes Spivey, DOR Hurricane
I got a head start being the discharge coordinator at St. George Rehab, allowing me to grow relationships with a lot of the home health companies in the area. Because of these strong relationships, we are starting to see our outpatient program grow. We got our first patient this week and will have our second in 1-2 weeks.

I have also met with a few ALF ownership groups through our home health partners, and once we hire a full time PT, OT, and SLP we have the green light to start working in that ALF.

From Scott Hollander, DOR Pointe Meadows It isn’t just Symbii (Pennant affiliated company) that I work with for ALF marketing. I get in touch with HH marketers and ask for an audience at their company IDT and IDG meetings. At these meetings, I take about 10 min. to share with their therapists and nurses how we can support them (especially with PDGM). They have fewer visits they can offer and I explain how we can come in behind them to continue therapy services. This turns into referrals from their clinicians, and many times during their d/c call to the MD office, they ask for an outpatient therapy order that is given to us!

I educate them on how we can also provide therapy to hospice patients in certain circumstances as long we code the cases as “07” on the billing side and that the hospice MD signs our orders. (This is a whole other conversation to have on another day.)

I also spend time with HH companies that are regulars for our patients that are discharged and ask for the return referral when they are finished. I have spent time actually going to ALFs with HH marketers to market for outpatient to show the ALFs that we are a team and that Pointe Meadows isn’t encroaching on HH patients. We discuss how if our outpatient therapists find a medical problem when treating a resident of theirs, we refer back to the MD, and if nursing is needed, back to HH.

Lately, Symbii HH has seen how much benefit this is to them and have actually been setting up marketing meetings for me! They are partnering with us in offering balance assessment clinics (We use CDC STEADI program for this). From these clinics, we gain patients every time.

Right before COVID hit last March, we had awesome momentum of our outpatient flywheel and were growing in 6 ALFs; then it all stopped. This last month, we’ve been pushing hard on the flywheel, and it is starting to pick up speed. The local ALFs are beginning to open their doors for us again, and we are excited to get back to a powerful outpatient program!