Thursday, May 31, 2007

Q. How can we increase patient referrals from home health nursing agencies?

A. Home health agencies can be an extremely lucrative market for an HME company. For a patient to qualify for insurance coverage for nursing services, he must be home or bed confined due to his condition. Many of these patients also need HME, and the referral usually comes directly from the patient's HHA.
Most home health agencies expect the following services from their HME companies:
* Easy and quick patient referral system.
* Timely delivery of equipment.
* Patient education and instruction.
* Efficient communication between them and the HME.
If you want more business from HHAs, you must ensure that you can meet these expectations. You also need to cultivate a strong relationship with the agency. Your representative should frequently call on the director of nursing, intake coordinator, and any other staff members at the agency. Unlike a doctor's office, there are no patients physically at the HHA, so the office staff are usually more approachable. If you build a close and trusting relationship with the homecare agency, you will likely receive more patient referrals from them.
Once a good relationship is built, your representative should schedule an in-service with the HHA. Most HHAs have at least one team meeting or case conference per month, when the field nurses and personnel meet at the HHA office. During this meeting, your representative should conduct his in-service, conveying the type of equipment and/or service he would like to provide for the agency's patients. This way, the field staff can evaluate which of their patients can use the products or services you offer.
After the in-service is over, the representative must follow up consistently with the homecare agency. Never forget: "Out of sight, out of mind." hme
Bill Kleiman is the author of "Success Made Easy in DME Sales." Reach him at 800-460-1967 or log onto his Web site,