Across the U.S, home health care and hospice providers work hard to achieve the goal of delivering quality care to patients in a manner that is safe for both patients and caregivers amid potential risks for errors, accidents and injuries. Thus, it’s important to realize the value of membership in national professional associations such as the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, the Home Care Association of America, the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, and the many state-level groups such as the Council of State Home Care Associations across the country. These professional groups represent home health care provider firms and workers and offer a number of benefits to members that support quality-centric goals and other aspects of organizational effectiveness such as:
Strength in numbers: Important topics of the day are discussed in an environment of robust cooperation with others who have similar business concerns, and collectively the group follows key legislative developments and expresses its position on them to state and federal legislators. Large organizations will have the political clout to be heard by politicians. Also, an association can provide a focal point for government to collect the information that it needs to make informed decisions, so the group can become in essence a government liaison—again, for the overall good of the industry.
Networking opportunities: Members make key professional contacts with counterparts in like companies that can be a countless source of valuable information. Exploit these opportunities to inspire, share tips and exchange ideas.
Online guidance: Most associations offer exclusive member benefits that include access to useful databases, lists-serv subscriptions and message boards, and resources on how providers can operate their home care business more efficiently and effectively.
Ongoing education: Continually increasing the professional knowledge base is essential to earning the people’s trust; associations provide valuable information, training on the latest technologies, career development, and access to materials that are not easily obtained by an independent organization. Attending to the elderly, chronically ill, disabled, or dying in a manner that is respectful of both patients’ and caregivers’ safety requires substantial training in the latest care delivery techniques, with frequent refreshers so staff remains up to date in these processes; associations help ensure providers are equipped with what they need to successfully serve their clients.
Cost and time savings: Members enjoy access to a range of quality products and services, often at discounted rates. Benefits include priority registration and reduced fees for workshops, conferences, seminars, learning tools and platforms, and savings on operations and business expenses such as insurance, car rentals, office supplies, and more.
Accreditation to certify excellence: In addition to association membership, being officially certified and recognized by organizations such as the Joint Commission, Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) or the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) means home health and hospice providers are hailed for their commitment to delivering a higher level of patient care, constantly improving service levels, welcoming feedback and supporting their local communities. In some cases, recognition is achieved via a consultative accreditation process that surveys practices, comparing them with national standards of excellence. Increasingly insurers and others are making accreditation a prerequisite for providers to receive business insurance discounts, become eligible for insurance reimbursement, bid on contracts or participate in managed care plans.
While professional accreditation and membership in national and state associations signal a provider’s commitment to quality and service excellence, it’s also important that home health care and hospice providers take an individual and active role to lobby at the state and federal level on the cutting-edge issues of the day—such as spiraling costs, shortage of quality workers, patient confidentiality, or others. Doing so will signal to others their legitimacy and level of commitment to developing transparent, consistent practices and standards to elevate the industry overall. At the same time, health care providers position themselves to help shape the future of their industry, providing thought leadership that informs the development of laws and good practices to create a safer working environment less plagued by business risks such as professional and workers’ compensation liability.
Manchester Specialty offers the home health care and hospice industry insurance solutions such as Professional Liability, Workers’ Compensation, General Liability and other critical coverages. For more information about our insurance programs, you or your local agent/broker may contact us at 855.972.9399.