3 Tips to More Rehab Referrals
Hospital outpatient (HOP) rehabilitation facilities rely on referrals to achieve performance goals. A recent webinar from the American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association identified three vital areas you need to focus on to send more referrals to your hospital’s rehab facility:
1. Remain accessible to your community
To increase referral volume, HOPs must be accessible to their communities. After identifying internal and external barriers in the intake process, make adjustments, so you can accept more patients and issue fewer denials.
2. Frame denials as teachable moments for staff and case managers
Unfortunately, when you can’t accept patients, your referral relationships can be negatively impacted. Webinar presenter Teresa Hayes, MSW, LICSW, recommends that, rather than simply saying “no,” you try to make your denials teachable moments that could lead to admissions in the future.
For example, if a high number of denials stem from a certain case manager’s referrals, your OP staff should approach him or her in a non-confrontational, educational way. The goal should be a productive, fact-finding conversation that determines the reasons behind the denials and identifies the patient archetype that is most likely to be accepted at your HOP. While this requires more effort than a simple “no,” the two-way communication makes the case manager more likely to refer patients in the future. Instead of flatly rejecting the wrong patients, teach case managers to refer the right ones.
The role of education within the referral process shouldn’t stop with the case manager but should extend to patients and their families. Personal contact between HOP staff and potential candidates for care creates an opportunity to alert patients that they’ve been referred, answer pressing questions, and explain the competitive advantages of your facility over your competitors.
3. Exceed patient expectations during the rehab process
When patients are accepted, your entire team bears the responsibility to meet and exceed patients’ expectations of care. All patients share their experiences, positive and negative, so if the actual care received doesn’t match their expectations, it will only become harder to generate future referrals and admissions. All employees are ambassadors for their organizations, and the standard of care they provide will have the greatest impact on the future of your hospital outpatient rehab facility.