I am alarmed, and you should be as well: since the beginning of COVID, fewer Medicare Beneficiaries have accessed hospice services than historically did in the recent past.
The “COVID Effect” has eroded the positive gains the hospice industry made prior to COVID in ensuring that eligible people were able to access their hospice benefits. In 2013, 45.22% of Medicare Beneficiaries* had hospice services at their time of death. That percent continued to increase, year over year, through 2019, at which time 50.19% of all Medicare Beneficiaries* had hospice services at their time of death.
In 2020, however, only 46.44% of Medicare Beneficiaries* had hospice services at their time of death, and that percent declined further in 2021, with only 44.93%* receiving services. Hence, the definite cause for alarm.
What can we do about this? Quite simply, we CAN do something about this, but we may need to get out of our comfort zones. The old adage of “we can’t expect different outcomes unless we change the way we do things” is applicable to changing the national narrative of declining hospice utilization.
Throughout the heightened times of COVID, most TCN member organizations have increased market share and increased the total number of patients served. Several TCN member organizations’ primary counties of service are bucking the national trends and improving in their overall hospice utilization.
These successes are not attributed to the ‘business as usual’ mentality. No, these successes are attributed to hard work and doing things differently. I don’t mean adding growth team members. I do mean having our growth team members perform their roles differently. I do mean getting our organizations’ leaders to engage with our Referral Partners on a bi-annual basis.
In the past few years, I’ve worked a lot with hospice organizations’ growth team members on the importance of conducting value-added visits with our Referral Partners. Value-added visits are key to the growth of referral volume…and in bucking the national trends.
If you’d like to learn more about how TCN can support your organization in increasing hospice utilization and growing ADC, please feel free to contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org). It is my passion to ensure non-profit hospice organizations are thriving.
Alyson Cutshall, Chief Growth Officer
*Data retrieved from Hospice Analytics (www.nationalhospiceanalytics.com).
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