Life Tech zeroes in on retention
ELMHURST, Ill. – Keeping patients is at least as important as attracting them. An HME provider that doesn’t retain clients won’t last long no matter how effective its referral source relations are, observes Brian Dacy, president of Elmhurst, Ill.-based Life Tech, the second place winner of the 2015 HME Excellence Awards.
“Life Tech has never lost a patient due to discontent and a large percentage of our patients transition to our services due to dissatisfaction with their current provider,” he said. “In addition, we have very satisfied referral sources who transfer patients to Life Tech because they are confident in the high level of care we provide.”
Starting in 2001 providing pneumogram services to pediatric patients, the company soon branched out into apnea monitors, enteral nutrition, oxygen and durable medical equipment. Six years ago, Life Tech started offering ventilator services, which evolved into a specific focus on clinically complex ventilator and trach technology for medically fragile patients of all ages.
As a pediatric-focused company, Life Tech has largely avoided dealing with Medicare, though it did bid in 2012, ultimately rejecting a contract due to low rates. It has not bid in subsequent rounds, but Dacy says that the company will work with bid winners to provide any medically complex equipment a patient needs.
Working with Medicaid has also been a challenge, Dacy says, as the Illinois program has implemented emergency cuts as the state grapples with severe budget problems.
Even so, “we have continued to provide services to our patients and are working with the legislature in Springfield to advocate on behalf of the HME community and the medically fragile patients we serve,” he said.
To expand the company’s profile within the community, Life Tech is building strategic partnerships with hospital systems, Dacy says, helping to streamline the discharge process and reduce readmissions through patient and caregiver training, documentation and equipment delivery.
Data management is integral to strengthening these relationships, Dacy says, as the company shares outcomes information with hospitals, along with tracking readmissions, patient satisfaction, referral satisfaction, infections and complaints.
“When you track data over a few years you begin to see trends and the trends have supported our belief that Life Tech does an outstanding job taking care of our patients and referrals,” he said. “But no matter how well we may think things are going, we try and instill the mindset in our employees that we can always improve. Providers who stand still and don’t strive to improve will be left behind.”