4 ways your admissions process is failing your residents and staff

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Darren Mathis
Darren Mathis


With shrinking margins and increasing regulations, skilled nursing facilities are admitting more and more patients under high scrutiny. The stressful process can take a toll on your staff in turn, taking a toll on your residents. If your current admissions system is placing undue pressure on your staff and residents, it's time to consider some alternatives. Below we investigate four ways your admissions process may be failing both your staff and residents.

Your admissions process doesn't stand up to a lawsuit or audit

Admissions processes often include stacks upon stacks of paper. These papers are typically chock full of difficult to decipher language, places to sign, and line after line of information to fill out.  When working with a paper-only system, an extensive quality control process is necessary to ensure that all the specifics of the paperwork are complete.

We hear from skilled nursing facilities that their biggest fear is pulling an agreement from the filing cabinet and realizing that it's not signed, or even worse, the document is missing altogether. Unfortunately, this is an easy mistake to make and it can cost your organization tens of thousands of dollars in a lawsuit or audit.

The Solution: Make the switch to an online admission system, where staff or residents are dynamically guided through the sections to complete. All sections must be acknowledged, signed, and completed before a resident can be accepted. Nurses can focus on their clinical evaluation, and with complete paperwork, audits and lawsuits pose less of a threat.

Coordinators' onboarding decisions aren't based on data

Skilled nursing facilities are often best suited treating particular ailments. Have you ever wondered why a group of unsuitable residents were admitted to your facility? Not only is this difficult on your nursing staff, but it doesn't make for a great resident experience. If you have multiple employees managing your admissions process, it's easy for them to make different decisions on similar residents, increasing the chances of costly residents slipping through the cracks.

The Solution: The key to a successful admissions process is one with repeatable actions and consistency across the board. A highly structured digital process allows each employee to make a faster and more accurate decision while mitigating the risk of unsuitable residents.

You take too long to make an admissions decision

If a resident is coming from a hospital, the hospital's goal is to get them out of their facility and into yours as quickly as possible. Typically, the first facility to respond with a bed offer is the facility the patient will go to. In this case, the old adage of “if you're not first, you're last,” stands true.

The staff have one of two options: Take as little time as possible evaluating a patient's complicated medical needs and insurance coverage to get the first offer, or take the time to select the right patients for their facility and risk losing the referral.

The Solution: The quicker a facility is to respond, the more likely they are to win the referral, but the key is accepting the right patients. Through an online admission system, a quality admission decision can easily be made in fifteen minutes, winning you more referrals, more residents, and ultimately, more revenue.

You lose money by accepting residents without proper insurance

Unfortunately, it's common to admit a resident that doesn't have valid insurance. Sometimes it's as simple as insurance that wasn't verified, or a forgotten authorization. This means you have serviced a resident you will never get paid for. Nurses then scramble to try to find funding to cover the lost cost. Worse yet, the resident ends up with the bill causing significant unwanted stress and financial burden.

The Solution: Utilize a system that puts insurance verification at the forefront, one that makes admission impossible without valid insurance. Eliminate any worry about serving residents whose insurance does not cover the cost of the care.

There are endless problems that can arise from disorganization, rushed decisions, and convoluted processes. In order to bring your process into the digital age, you need to consider digitizing your admissions process. Digitization can save your facility time, money, and valuable resident opinions.

Darren Mathis is the Chief Executive Officer of LincWare. He can be reached at darren@lincware.com

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