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Operational keys to success.

It is always more meaningful to read a column that has practical application, and many Nursing Homes readers have expressed their need and appreciation for this approach. Along these lines, we begin with this issue a series of columns containing suggestions for success from key leaders in the post-acute industry. Each column will address a specific area of subacute management, such as staffing, education, case management, and payer and vendor relationships. We begin in this issue with managers' suggestions for improving operations.

Dick Wager, Senior Vice President of Operations, Welcare International Management Corporation: "Do a thorough assessment of the facility environment in relation to rehabilitation services. You may find that you are able to expand therapy services. In our case, we are adding 2,500 square feet of therapy space in some of our nursing homes at a one-time cost of approximately $125,000. Due to the Medicare cost structure and reimbursement from third-party payers, we expect, because of increased activity, to add $40,000 to $100,000 to our bottom line annually."

Kirk Inoue, President and Chief Executive Officer, N.M.I. Inc.: "To improve communication between our clients and management, we assigned accountability of tracking and reporting of Client issues and complaints to one individual. There are no layers between this person and the company president when it comes to responsibility for reporting client issues. This staff member is also given authority to make on-the-spot decisions for immediate resolution of client issues when necessary. The goal is to provide direct information to top management and reduce the time it takes to resolve client issues. The result has been that the time it takes to gather information and respond to clients has been dramatically shortened. We believe increasing customer satisfaction will help build referrals."

Eli Pick, Executive Director, Ballard: "A good deal of our success has been based on a process we implemented to measure how well we meet the needs of our customers. When we implemented this process, it helped us to plan changes to our environment, programs and services. Although there were plenty of data available that identified the types of clinical programs needed in our community, it was the feedback that we collected from our customers that shaped how we were able to deliver these programs. Knowing how to ask people what they want and then being able to understand and convert the data into meaningful information is the most significant accomplishment that we have learned from. We are still learning and will continue to do so."

Robert F. Buckley, President and Chief Executive Officer, Meridian Neuro Care: "An inter-facility newsletter is a highly effective way of strengthening rapport among patients, families and staff. A newsletter does not have to be cost-prohibitive to produce. Brief interviews can yield a lot of information about significant events and provide an effective way for people to relate to each other. We include information about special facility events, the birth of a child to an employee, anniversaries, changes in personnel positions, brief interviews with patients and family members, and plans for any activities or changes within the facility itself."

Clair Jones, System Director of Rehabilitation Services, Sharp HealthCare: "When managing across a multi-level continuum of care, formulate and publish a list of agreed-upon system integration principles and guidelines. Try to include ideas from professionals within the system. This will assist in shaping horizontal thinking, communication and behavior and help get this off to a good start."

These are just a few "tips from the professionals" that we plan to publish. They come from the real world of operational experience, and hopefully will be of direct use to readers attempting to succeed with post-acute care. The door is open for similar suggestions in all areas of post-acute, as I mentioned earlier. If you have suggestions that you think might be helpful to others in any area or specialty of post-acute care, please forward them to Laura Hyatt, Hyatt & Associates, 2956 Kelton, Los Angeles, CA 90064. Be sure and include along with the suggestions your name, title, organization, area code and phone number, and address so that we might contact you for a bit more information, if necessary.

Laura Hyatt is President of Hyatt & Associates, Los Angeles, CA.
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Post-Acute Consult
Author:Hyatt, Laura
Publication:Nursing Homes
Date:Jul 1, 1996
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