It is well known that in the world of assisted living, uncompensated care costs communities tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue each month.
Here is what happens
On move-in a resident is assessed for level of care and a service package is developed and included in the payment agreement.
Often this initial assessment is, at best, an educated guess and because everyone wants to make sure the move-in happens, there is a tendency to underestimate amount of care needed. Further compounding the problem is that as residents age, it is inevitable that over time the residents needs will increase. In an effort to stay on top of the problem, most communities use some form of a primitive paper and pencil approach that relies on a combination of care givers making estimated guesses as to the amount of time spent and the interventions delivered and a care supervisor, often a nurse, doing periodic assessments. It is well known that care givers and nurses when doing “eyeball reassessments” tend to significantly underestimate the amount of care being provided. The final problem is that because these reassessments are based on guestimates rather than hard data, families and residents will challenge attempts to increase charges.
A few weeks ago while doing some research for Vigil Health Solutions Emergency Call Systems I came across the website for CareTime Analytics. There website was so terrible that I was intrigued enough to dig deeper (go look, you will see). I received a quick return email from the owner Doug Baynham which led to a phone conversation. I was blown away by his brilliant, simple and elegant solution to the uncompensated care problem. Here is how it works:
- Doug goes into an assisted living building and puts a barcode at the door of each resident’s room.
- He then gives each care provider an Apple iTouch that has a specially developed application that allows caregivers to easily track how much time they spend on each resident and what those cares are.
- Each time a care giver enters a resident room to provide assistance, they scan the bar code on the resident’s room, then when they leave the room they scan out and choose one or more of a dozen or so possible care activities.
- The application is designed so that if care is provided away from the resident’s room that information can also be captured.
- CareTime does this survey over a period of 30 days at the end of which, they have around 10,000 lines of data. The data is then analized and compared with the actual resident care plans. The final step is to make recommendations as to where the community might make adjustments to the care plan and charges, more accurately reflecting the care being provided.
As a rule of thumb they typically find about 25% of the care being provided is uncompensated. That represents a lot of money. It can make the difference between being able to provide a good program and a spectacular program for residents. On Thursday I will provide a case study for on fairly typical building that took advantage of CareTime Analytics.
If you like this story it would be a great honor to me if you would subscribe to our email list. Steve Moran
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Finally: If you know anyone who is looking at emergency call systems I would appreciate the opportunity to talk with them about Vigil Health Solutions.