The need for better Health Care Agreements
Updated: May 11, 2021
In a competitive market where Aged / Disability Care compliance and service delivery continues to challenge quality of service and profitability, all aspects of administration and specifically agreements need to be reviewed with more efficient procedures implemented. We look at some of the challenges and solutions.
Aged Care, Home Care and Disability Care in Australia is a potential minefield due to the diverse and complex nature of the numerous funding models and the ensuing ethical and legislative reporting.
As this compliance requirement increases, the industry faces additional efficiency pressures through increased labour costs and increased competition, with a more informed client base that is demanding better service and information. Add to this the absolute need to prevent over-spending and over servicing as it is the agencies’ responsibility and them alone that carry the potential costs. In a recent discussion with an agency, this issue was illustrated when they were approached by parents wanting to transfer to a new agency. Their daughter had a $200 thousand / 24-month NDIS package with 10 months still to run, but the package had already been depleted by the previous agency. Taking on this client without due care could have resulted in a significant loss to the new agency. As we all know, this is not an uncommon occurrence.
While the various government departments continue to ensure that funding is available, appropriate care is provided, and the needs and rights of the individual are protected, they are having to introduce more and more legislation and compliance. In an industry already under cost pressures, profitability is only attained through efficiencies. Agencies have, and continue to strive for operational efficiencies through training, technology (route optimisation, scheduling, access to data, mobility, etc.) while administration is an area where costs continue to increase. This has been to the detriment of administrative efficiencies where there are some handy gains to be achieved, all with a view to enhancing care provision and cost control.
Consider to implement new efficiencies
Looking at the top client complaints provides some direction when considering implementing new efficiencies (Homecarepulse.com – over 1 million home care surveys conducted):
1. Office staff failing to communicate consistently
2. Lack of caregiver training
3. Unable to schedule according to client preference
4. Too many caregivers – lack of consistency
5. Late or missing shifts
6. Caregiver lack of attention while on duty
7. Poor caregiver/client compatibility
8. Issues with billing
9. Poor care giving staff
10. Difficult admin staff
While a number of these can be addressed operationally, lack off, or unclear communications between the client and the agency significantly increases the likelihood of complaints. Add to this the need to ensure all clients are adequately funded and that all legislative requirements are met. This calls for better communications which will have a positive impact on client satisfaction, reducing calls to the call centre, driving profitability and improving compliance.
Customer Correspondence by nature and specifically agreements, in any size organisation are complex. Typically, Word document templates reside on local devices making it impossible to ensure consistency let alone compliance with legislative requirements. When delivered as templates, existing client communication solutions are all too often complex to manage, expensive to amend and prone to human error. When requiring client interaction (signature, approval, input), Communications have also proven cumbersome and simply take too long to get finalised. In today’s competitive market, this significant delay in commencing the service often results into missed client opportunities, losing business and impacting on revenue and cash flow.
Components needed to make client agreements happen
A further consideration to client agreements are the various components that are required for client service and compliance that need to be included into these agreements. In the case of Home Care packages, the agency must produce:
a home care agreement
a care plan
an individualised budget, and
These are required to have consistent information across all and should have consistency to ensure they are easily understood by clients. Communications can be dynamic and change frequently and should be easily managed by the agency.
To address today’s complex Aged and Disability markets, the industry must strive to implement communications, especially agreements that are:
Template based ensuring compliance and companywide consistency
Quick and cost effective to implement, maintain and change
Empower your front-line staff by providing a versatile communication by allowing them to edit applicable content while protecting the legal and compliance integrity of the communication
Dynamic in that front line staff amendments, and relevant calculations are immediately displayed in the communication
Multi-channel deliverable (Electronic signature, Email, print, etc) according to client expectation
Ability to add features such as accessibility for vision impaired clients
Ability to send personalised and targeted messaging relevant to the recipient
All the above must be provided in a scalable and affordable manner so that the solution scales with the agency.
Airdocs Clever Agreements allows template based interactive documents to be delivered with the ability to source data from multiple sources in a cost-effective manner.
Written by John Anderson
Team Lead: Services & Support
With a wealth of industry specific knowledge, including health care funding models, John and his team support all customer service and support activities including data mapping, implementation, project management, best practice document design and post implementation support.