How can SNF's and SLC's combat their "fiscal cliff"?
This month, “fiscal cliff” has become as much a part of the American lexicon as Happy Hanukah and Merry Christmas. For most Americans, the fiscal cliff – a mandatory 3% contraction of the federal government, is thought of as unimaginable. For Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) that have witnessed an 11% reduction in reimbursements in 2012, they have already endured a fiscal cliff and it is clear the future will not get any easier.
Senior Living Communities (SLC) are not immune from the fiscal cliff discussion either. SLC's have endured a marketplace that has been adversely affected by an economy – in which fewer seniors have the means to enter traditional independent and assisted living communities.
What can SNF's and SLC's do in the face of these industry specific fiscal cliffs? To start, they must look for ways to drive costs out of their processes.
For most service providers, labor is their largest expense. The strategic implementation of technology is a proven way to reduce staff expenses, improve productivity and enhance quality of service.
One organization that is making good use of technological solutions is the Centers for Specialty Care Group, a leading provider of skilled nursing, home health and adult day care services in New York and New Jersey. The team there knew they needed to make their staff more productive. After reviewing the staff's use of time, they determined that it took nearly 2-3 hours to find a suitable replacement when a staff member called in sick. Factoring the time for the scheduler and the Nursing Supervisor, this process was costing tens of thousands of dollars per community in lost productivity. After researching various tools, Centers for Specialty Care Group turned to VoiceFriend to provide a messaging solution that enabled them to reduce the time it took to find replacement staff.
Says Jack Weinberg of Centers for Specialty Care Group, “VoiceFriend has enabled our nursing team to focus on care and minimize time spent finding coverage for staff call outs. This process has been reduced from 2-3 hours per call out to 10-15 minutes. The impact to staff productivity has been huge”.
The fiscal cliffs for SNF's and SLC's are not going away. In fact, the cliffs may get more frequent and steeper. With the strategic implementation of technological solutions, SNF's and SLC's can ensure that they are able to thrive in 2013 and beyond.
Bruce Baron is CEO of VoiceFriend. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.