When you consider starting a new home care agency, adding a new service, or are experiencing “issues” with your current agency, a home care consultant is a good resource to have available. But before you jump in to hiring a home care consultant, there are several things you want to know about any potential consultant you are about to hire:
1. How long has the consultant been doing home health consulting? Working as a home care consultant is very different than working in a position in an organization. As a consultant in home health, hospice and private duty, one of the most important systems to develop is the network of service providers in multiple areas of the industry; software developers, sales, social media marketing, specialized trainers, Insurance providers, Accreditation specialists, OASIS and Coding Specialists, outsourcing OASIS specialists, financial experts, merger and acquisition specialists to name a few. Any home care consultant who has been in the business for a while should have a comprehensive list of potential resources for their clients. Their extensive network will save you valuable time!
2. How long have they been in the industry? When you ask about their experience in the industry it is important to know how long they have been in the home care industry and what positions they held. For instance, if you need a comprehensive organizational assessment completed, you will be looking for someone with at least ten or more years experience at the executive level as a Director, Vice President or President of an organization. Additionally, you will want to know if the organization was a small, medium or large sized company. The larger the company or organization, the more complex the skills needed to run the entity.
3. What does the home care consultant specialize in? Consultants come in all areas of specialty. Some exclusively do audit recovery services for denials; others are primarily engaged in due diligence for merger and acquisition companies for buyers or sellers, yet, others specialize in private pay start ups and selected areas only. If you require start up assistance, be sure you are talking to someone who specializes in that area. You want someone who reads and understands the home care state regulations and can help you develop your policies and procedures to match the state rules. Ask what they or their firm does and if they are qualified services for your needs in your geographic area. Be clear about the type of agency you want to start up. Some consultants specialize in Medicare agencies while others specialize in private pay only.
4. Do they have specific experience in all the areas where you need assistance? For instance, if you need an organizational assessment and you have a multi program company, you want to be sure that the consultant has experience with all the programs you offer. If you have both a Medicare Home Health program and a private pay program, you’ll want o make sure the consultant is an expert in both programs to meet your needs.
5. Do they have references for you to talk to? Do they have a list of references who have the same business or combination of services that you specifically offer? Most consultants will be able to provide you with a list of references for you to speak with. This allows you to compare oranges to oranges when making your final decision on whom to engage.
6. What do they charge and what is included in the fees? Many consultants charge a flat hourly rate for their services. The fee includes the time consulting with you by phone and email, gathering information and/or developing materials for you. In some cases, you may incur additional costs for items such as mailing coping etc. Others will have a combination of pricing including bundled packages and a la carte. Always request a sample agreement with all of the details spelled out for you so you know up front what your expenditures will be and what is included in the contract.
There are many great home care consultants across the country. Finding the one that is right for you is a matter of doing your due diligence. The time you spend in the beginning selecting the right person to help you pays dividends in the end. If you are in need of consulting assistance, give us a call at 206-721-5091, or contact Kenyon HomeCare Consulting. We are here to help.