Monthly Archives: August 2013

Countdown: Only 140 Days Left in 2013!

That means we’ve already busted through 225 days this year – seems like we were just PLANNING for 2013 yesterday! Time flies when you’re having fun, and going bananas as I’m sure all of you can relate! (And now it starts all over again, planning for 2014 budgets already!)

In those 225 days, I have to say I’ve never seen as much progress and improvement from one operating division in my career than I have in 2013! Every outcome, metric, lever, dial, percentage, trend (I could go on) has moved forward this year, more than I’ve seen in 18 years of home health experience. As your statistician, let me “count” the accomplishments for us to date:

  • GROWTH – We continue to show double-digit, year-over-year growth in admissions, which translates to double-digit census growth across the home health division: over 10% growth from last year as our competitors and peers are reporting low single digit percent growth, if any growth at all! We are winning with our referral sources and taking great care of patients so they use us again. 96% of our patients would recommend us!
  • QUALITY – We continue to show record-breaking quality outcomes, specifically with our 30 day rehospitalization rates. Our hospital partners are laser-focused on this metric because it benefits Medicare, acute care hospitals, payer sources, and most importantly – our patients! We saw a best-ever reported 7.9% 30 day rate in June compared to national data at around 15%, and I hear early signs of July getting EVEN BETTER!
  • PEOPLE – We are retaining associates more this year than in the past – Only 19% turnover through 225 days, representing 81% retention. We are not perfect here, but we are getting better and progress COUNTS!
  • FINANCE – While focusing on the monthly operating “levers,” intentions were that through focus on the right metrics (LUPA, Unmet Therapy Need, Visit Utilization, HHRG) we would see improvements on both QUALITY and FINANCE Pillars. And we have ABSOLUTELY experienced what we thought would happen!
  1. LUPA improvements in 2013 from over 10% are back to the 7% to 8% range – we are establishing better relationships with our patients. They are recommending us more and are more educated and involved in their own health.
  2. Meeting the unmet therapy need – Improvements in visits, overall therapy discipline utilization and productivity. Our patients are improving and becoming more independent! (A major intention of home health as an industry and provider of healthcare services – low cost, high value relative to other venues of healthcare – we ARE the answer to the healthcare crisis!)
  3. Visit Utilization – More is not always better! We are managing to the most appropriate discipline, and again, experiencing patient outcome improvements – the intention all along.

All of the above improvements are helping our operating division achieve the best PERFORMANCE results in company history in every single category! PEOPLE, SERVICE, QUALITY, FINANCE and GROWTH – they ALL work together!

Looking forward to the remaining 140 days with all of you. As always, thanks for all that you do – you are appreciated more than you know by so many!

Article submitted by: Brad Parrish, VP of Finance


Professional Advisory Group/Committee

The Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) is a federal requirement. Many states also have their own requirements that impact the PAC. The PAC membership must include at least one physician and one registered nurse as well as representation for other professional disciplines as appropriate. So if your agency provides OT and PT visits, those disciplines must be represented in the PAC membership. The discipline representation must be “professional” meaning that a PTA, COTA, HHA would not meet the requirements but they can still be part of the committee if you desire.

At least one member of the PAC cannot be an owner or employee of the agency. This requirement could be met by including a vendor, past patient, referral source, etc. It’s important to remember, though, that the PAC discusses sensitive information.

The purpose of the PAC is to provide advice and guidance to the agency on professional and patient issues. The other important function of the PAC is to review and approve policies. The federal regulations list that some policies and state regulations sometimes require additional policies to be included. A PAC meeting format is available on the Girling dashboard. You should also refer to your agency policy for guidance on the PAC.

The PAC is also responsible for evaluating the effectiveness, efficiency, adequacy and appropriateness of the services provided by the local agency.

PAC meetings must occur at least yearly and as needed. Some states may require regular meetings more frequently. Minutes of the meetings must be documented and maintained at the local agency along with a signed attendance sheet.

Article submitted by: Lori Velko, Director of Compliance

Summer Updates from the IT Department

We have had a busy and productive summer this year and a busy fall is almost upon us. Below are a few updates on recently completed, current, and upcoming IT projects.

Project Sign Online is now LIVE in all regions with over 350 physician logins created! There have been over 2200 orders and certifications signed online since the pilot began on May 6th. Email reminders are sent to the physicians on Monday and Thursday mornings when they have outstanding documents to sign. To request a physician be set up to use Sign Online, please submit a request via IT Help Online. There will be a refresher webinar for all branches on September 10th. We welcome all attendees.

Topic: Sign Online Branch Refresher
Date: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Time: 3:00 pm, CT
To join the audio portion, dial 877-820-7831 and enter 993649#

To join the online meeting, go to

Horizon Regulatory Updates: After installing a few updates and the 12.3.7 regulatory release this summer, we will soon start planning and testing the next major release – the 12.3.8 Fall Regulatory Update. This is targeted to be available from McKesson on September 13th. This release will be put into our TEST environment for testing new features/functionality and we plan to load it to Production on Thursday, September 26th. Keep a look out for training materials and more information in September.

Over the Summer, more than 20 Horizon courses have been updated on HLU. Please take a look at the refreshed modules.

Don’t forget we also continue to have update calls on the 4th Tuesday of every month. Please make sure your office joins these calls to hear the latest updates and ask questions. All users are welcome to attend!

Article submitted by: Jessica Rhodes, IT Project Manager

August 2013 Service Anniversaries

Congratulations to the following people that are celebrating their service anniversary with the company.

  • Tammy Hain – 10 years
    Administrator – Clearwater, FL
  • Jessica Brown – 10 years
    Scheduler – Rolla, MO
  • Florence Bissell – 10 years
    RN – Chicago, IL
  • Wanda Ellington – 5 years
    Community Rep – Birminham, AL
  • Martha Ulcak – 5 years

Article submitted by: Christi Ferina, Executive Assistant

Box of Applause in Houston

“We are the Houston Unit (Houston, Humble & Wharton offices)! We have an amazing staff, who engage in collaborative efforts with sales, ICU, field, and office staff. We strive to provide great patient care by providing the following: Compassion, Motivation, Personal Integrity, Operational Excellence, and Communication. We were very excited to receive the ‘Box of Applause’. We try to make everyday ‘a round of Applause!'”

A note from Monique Saizan, Administrator for Houston, TX

Wharton Team


Humble Team

July 2013 HEART Winners

This program has been put in place to recognize our fellow team members for the Terrific work they do each and every day. I would like to thank everyone who sent in a note to show your support in recognizing the great people you work with. The following names are the Terrific people who were nominated in July 2013 for their great work:

Mary Harrison – Tulsa, OK
Faith Campoas – Oakland, CA
Robert Pilkington – Columbia, MO
Christi Rice – Knoxville, TN
Sherri Fox – Knoxville, TN
Mary Harnden – Wharton, TX
Robert Munden – Corsicana, TX
Alice Stolfa – San Antonio, TX
Mary Ventura – San Antonio , TX
Aaron Kaufman – Clearwater, FL
Sandy Bradley – Tampa, FL
Matt Rhead – Tampa, FL
Althea Harris – Clearwater, FL
Paula Carter – Clearwater, FL
Alisha Dodd – Oklahoma City, OK
Linda Jiang – Oakland, CA
Diane Wilkerson – Knoxville, TN
Derek Haak – Dallas, TX
Cheryl Lee – San Antonio, TX
Kayla Moody – Corsicana, TX
Jeff Spradlin – Knoxville, TN
Patricia Sharp – Clearwater, FL
Mary Forbes – Tulsa, OK
Nancy Schiebert – Oklahoma City, OK
Mary Czajka – Chicago, IL

Gladys Johnson – Clearwater, FL
Melissa La Farga – Clearwater, FL
Sheri Scherpf – Clearwater, FL
Anita Jones – Corsicana, TX
Michelle Kennedy – Clearwater, FL
Hunter Trask – HHRC
Cathy Shuman – Knoxville, TN

Congratulations to everyone, especially our winners (the names in red) of the $25 gift cards for a job well done. Keep up the excellent work.

Don’t forget to nominate your fellow team members for the great work they do.
The next drawing of 25 winners will be held on September 11, 2013.

Article submitted by: Julia Widener, HEART Rewards Program Coordinator, HHQ

Words to Warm Your HEART

I would like to share with you some of the wonderful words that were sent in about fellow team members through our HEART Rewards Program. Below are a few of the notes that were submitted.

Here is why Cheryl Lee is terrific:
“I received a wonderful phone call about Cheryl. According to the patient, Cheryl was thorough and very complete with her care. The patient went on to describe how he had been in two rehab facilities and felt he had learned more from Cheryl than he did in those two rehab facilities combined. He was truly appreciative of the excellent care that Cheryl provided to him. We are lucky to have Cheryl as an employee.”
Note submitted by: Kathy Bobick, San Antonio TX

Here is why Linda Jiang is terrific:
“Linda was just promoted to our office manager assistant early this year. She has been working for Asian American Homecare for more than ten years. Along the years, she has been very dedicated to her job duties and has a lot of enthusiasm about new, challenging work. Furthermore, she has good working relationships not only with all the office staff, but also all the field staff. She is always trying to help when others need it. After Linda took over the assistant position, she went the extra mile to assist the office in contacting the physicians in order to get plan of care, face-to-face and all the physician orders signed and back on time. She is a tremendous asset to our company.”
Note submitted by: Julie Yeh, Asian American Homecare

Here is why Paula Carter is terrific:
“I have had the pleasure of working with Paula the last ten years. Paula is an outstanding employee who goes above and beyond to make sure that all the job duties assigned to her are complete in a timely manner. She is always willing to assist when asked without hesitation. Thank you Paula for your dedication.”
Note submitted by: Tammy Hain, Clearwater FL