One principle is certain in skilled nursing and that, unfortunately, is change. Today, caring for our seniors couldn’t be more intense. Covid-19 devastated both our seniors as well as their caregivers. Policy-makers imposed regulatory restrictions that the industry suggests have limited impact on care quality: Nearly 850 pages of CMS-imposed guidelines went into effect late last year. The industry is seeing an unprecedented number of ownership transfers and facilities forced to close their doors due to economic hardship. Top SNF organizations are in an ongoing clinical staffing crisis with nearly 30% of SNFs reporting critical staffing challenges. Additionally, hospitals continue to report high levels of extended occupancy as many SNFs report having low staff volumes to take their recovering patients.
In light of ongoing and new challenges facing SNF organizations, what are today’s top habits that contribute to strong, successful SNF operations?
Habit #1- Staff Appreciation! We have never seen so many heroes at all levels of an SNF operation going above and beyond for resident care, and resident safety and just working hard to make a strong community committed to doing the right thing. Operators that truly embrace their staff in all departments and roles continuously have better outcomes. Make time to take time to enhance your culture of caring and respect. They have led us through one of the most challenging times in senior care and continue on today, albeit at lower staffing levels. Leadership that constantly celebrates staff creates an environment others desire. The employee that brings home a paycheck is an employee. An employee that brings home a paycheck, a photo of the CEO serving them lunch to share with friends and family, or a manager hosting a “Lunch and Learn,” asking staff how they can do better for them—builds a partnership. Build partnerships.
Which organization would you rather work for? The employee that feels appreciated post about it, shares their stories with friends and families, and tells colleagues working at other facilities about it. Your ability to hire experienced team members has just been greatly elevated. You have now achieved positive operational results. Step it up in 2023!
Habit #2- Healthy Accounting: Nothing else matters if your Accounts Receivable personnel and systems are not aligned and maximizing your collections. Top operators “live and breathe” AR as a way to pay staff well, improve care and perpetuate healthy SNF operations. In recent interviews, top operators point to live and interactive SNF-based financial software systems such as SNF Metrics’ that integrate multiple software systems together for fast, real-time insights. The SNF Metrics App quickly shares billing concerns with top managers, reduces the incidence of untracked residents, takes control of managed care reimbursements, manages co-pays in a timely manner, reduces bad debt expenses, and maximizes PDPM payments. Take time in 2023 to review a new SNF-based financial system.
Habit #3- Census and Referrals: SNF Operators who are passionate about resident census find improved successes. Recently, our industry saw a trend similar to what we traditionally have only seen from our Assisted Living friends-structured divisions of sales and marketing professionals dedicated to community outreach and education. Today, SNFs have many more opportunities for health system partnerships, Medicare Advantage participation as well as our standard hospital admission relationships. Successful operators are adding census management tools and building teams of professionals to help them share their “top-notch” clinical care, and safe and comfortable senior living experiences. Here in Baltimore, MD, one SNF Operator is even marketing themselves with billboards as the official nursing home of the Baltimore Ravens!
Habit #4- Spot Your Trends Early: Lessons from other industries point to the need to collect, analyze and quickly respond to what the data is telling us. In an SNF, trends can cover both our management operations as well as resident clinical care. SNF operators download data into multiple data sources every second. Successful operators employ tools to unlock that data—and then build trust in that data to make informed decisions. A word of caution: An operator that employs data-driven management must drive staff at all levels to embrace this approach. Just having data analytics tools has no impact if it is not utilized by all levels of an SNF operation-starting with ownership. SNF data holds the answers to great care, census development, and much more. Drive it home!
Habit #5- Risk Management: Recent developments have mandated that successful SNF operators take risk management head-on. SNF operators face internal challenges, resident/family/legal challenges as well as more pressure from CMS–most recently new risk regulations related to abuse and neglect. Today, top operators are building entire risk management teams to control risks, reduce costs, and lower insurance premiums. Risk management software applications and risk reports from SNF Metrics direct SNF operators to where their risk exposures are occurring and mitigate those risks quickly. Additionally, the top habits of top operators are that they are overseeing these new risk operations personally. The software can make this oversight simple, and accurate and provides confidence in the entire SNF operation-from legal, investors, C-suite, staff, and of course residents and families.
SNF Metrics provides savvy SNF operators with Apps and Analytics to drive the most critical facets of their operations in 2023 and beyond. Apps and Analytics that oversee clinical, census, staffing, AR, managed care contracts, pharmacy auditing tools, and risk management with more in development. Simple to use, simple to integrate at simple prices. Leaders that embrace our innovative tools perform better than those that do not, and we have the proof. Call today to learn how.