After years of challenges related to the pandemic, including all-time low occupancy rates, financial overleveraging and other hazards, businesses operating in the long-term care (LTC) industry are looking for ways to get back ahead. While each leader’s formula for success will vary, these 5 long-term care strategies can help provide some guidance on boosting the long-term outlook of your LTC organization.
5 Long-Term Care Strategies for Success
#1: Be open to re-assessing your workflows — and possibly your priorities.
The first step in formulating a new business strategy, or even putting in some basic improvements on your current plan, is an assessment of what’s working and what isn’t. While that’s straightforward enough, some leaders struggle with what comes next.
“One of the big things over the next three to five years is facilities being open to critically analyzing and assessing their own practices,” as John Kane of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. “COVID has demonstrated that the way we’ve been doing things has not been working. It took something like this, maybe, to reveal that.”
At a time when uncertainties abound, it’s essential to take decisive action when and where it’s needed. That means accepting that our industry is different today than it was a few years ago, and probably isn’t going back. So, job #1 for preparing for the future is being honest about review process, and being prepared to accept the results, and the actions they may require.
> Takeaway: Kane also points out that the insights necessary for an honest assessment to achieve this metric may need to be sought from third parties. He advocates networking at industry events and conferences to get those new perspectives. But any reputable, industry-specific third-party assessment of your business workflows can probably get the job done.
#2: Make sure your compliance and cybersecurity efforts are up to date.
The healthcare industry has been hit hard by security breaches in recent years, and LTC and SNF facilities are no exception. With the chance to gain access to valuable private data from medical and billing records, hackers are persistently targeting health facilities for signs of weakness or vulnerability. And that means any failure to keep your patients’ data as secure as possible could be costly.
Closely linked to this phenomenon is the risk of fees or penalties for failure to maintain compliance not just with new and rapidly changing cybersecurity guidelines, but also larger regulatory requirements. At a time when Congress is actively seeking to impose further regulations, failure to take heed of what’s required of you could lead to disaster.
> Pro Tip: The cost of investing in cybersecurity and better compliance may be offset with an investment in larger EHR systems, as well as vendor management solutions or healthcare managed services (MSPs).
> Resource: 4 Urgent Cybersecurity Lessons for Healthcare Leaders
#3: Upgrade your vendor Game.
It’s important to remember that your compliance and cybersecurity efforts shouldn’t be restricted to your own operations. From basic administrative tasks to IT needs to payroll, billing, and scheduling, most organizations use a number of different vendors to help manage their operations — and it’s important to make sure they’re all fully audited, compliant, and up to date on data security guidelines, as well.
Of course, this is easier said than done, particularly when organizations partner with a variety of vendors to fulfill different aspects of their operational essentials. The need for a better way to manage these vendors has led to a steep rise in the popularity of healthcare vendor management solutions (VMS).
With a VMS provider, leaders get to see and control each vendor from a single, centralized point. This can help lower operational costs by driving overall efficiency, reducing redundancies, and improving cross-vendor synchronization and utilization. A VMS provider also helps bolster cybersecurity efforts by putting everything under a single (ideally cloud-based) roof.
> Did You Know? CareerStaff offers industry-leading healthcare vendor management solutions, and has also received The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval.
> Resource: 5 Benefits of Partnering with a Healthcare VMS Provider
#4: Reach residents and their communities with social marketing.
At a time when occupancy levels are low and referrals can be tricky, it’s important to make sure you’re doing everything you can to attract new residents. And that means reaching them where they’re most likely to congregate. Today, that means social media (especially Facebook), and search engine marketing (Google searches).
But this isn’t purely a matter of selling your facility to potential residents. It’s important to think of social media as a community, where people talk, join local groups and get to know one another. You can respond to posts by residents and their families to help cultivate a community feeling, which could lead to more referrals and greater resident satisfaction — all important aspects of your bottom line.
> Action Item: If it’s been a few years since you’ve redesigned your website, it’s time for an upgrade — and make sure it’s search engine optimized (SEO) so people can find you when they search Google for local facilities.
#5: Invest in the right workforce Solutions.
The pandemic has laid bare the necessity of having a backup plan for sourcing essential workers. And it’s just as important to ensure that your leadership and administration team is as impressive as the nurses and clinical workers on the floor with residents every day. After all, even the best long-term care strategies can fall apart if they’re not implemented quickly, efficiently, and with expert guidance.
But even more critical is having access to a network of contingency staff like travel and per diem nurses, who are ready to join your team in moments of need. This is essential not just in times of crisis, but also for dealing with regular seasonal fluctuations. Contingency workers can also provide a way for rural and remote facilities to access to the specialists they need to best meet their residents’ needs.
> Pro Tip: Partner with a full-time dedicated healthcare staffing partner to make sure all your contingency staffing needs are met, all throughout the year.
We Can Help Implement Long-Term Care Strategies That Work
There’s a good reason why CareerStaff is the nation’s top choice for healthcare staffing solutions that help leaders realize their long-term care strategies! And we’re standing by help your business, too: Learn more about our workforce solutions here, or get the ball rolling by submitting a staffing request now.