Yesterday, a family walked into the admissions department unannounced. They were anxious and clearly desperate. Dad is in a skilled rehab facility in Florida after he took a bad fall at home and was subsequently hospitalized. His weakened condition and new physical reality precludes him from going back home to live independently.
Social workers called the family yesterday to inform them that Dad would plateau with his (Medicare covered) therapy on October 18, after which he’d be unable to remain at their facility due to their “shortage of long term beds.”
To “plateau” in the Medicare lexicon, is to progress sufficiently so as to achieve “prior level of functioning,” or to demonstrate an inability to progress sufficiently. In either scenario, Medicare will cut the reimbursement to the facility and the facility must therefore discharge or seek another payor source. In this case (as in many other cases like this) there is in fact another payor source (for long term care), it is $80,000 worth of the patient’s private funds as a necessary spend down while pursuing financial eligibility pursuant to Medicaid regulations. The ‘problem’ as it were, is that this facility in Florida doesn’t wish to keep said patient under private pay because their daily private pay rate of $380.00 is considerably less than what they are currently being reimbursed under his Medicare entitlements. Therefore, on October 19th they will look to discharge him and fill his bed with another Medicare recipient for short term rehabilitation. Their “advice” and approach to/with this family is purely financially motivated.
Assuredly, they didn’t present it this way to the family, because the truth doesn’t exactly flatter the facility. Instead, they couched their intent in all kinds of generalities, technicalities and other such mumbo jumbo.
By the time the family bumped into me, their heads were spinning and they were on the verge of tears.
The family lives here in New Jersey and they are at a loss as to what to do. Their thinking in paying us a visit was to have him possibly transferred to us in New Jersey.
I summed up the dynamic in an instant and asked this simple question: “Are you otherwise happy with the facility and in the care they are currently providing your Dad and do you wish for him to remain there?”
Their answer was a resounding yes.
I then proceeded to educate and empower them regarding their options so that they will hopefully ‘convince’ the facility to keep their Dad.
I was willing to waive their consideration of our facility because I innately sensed that they were looking for help in maintain the status quo and not necessarily for a hard sell on creating an upheaval for their Dad by transferring him from Florida to New Jersey.
Did I lose a customer? You decide.
I don’t think so. I believe I fostered good will in adhering to the principles of honesty and integrity which I learned from our Founder. Certainly, the grateful reaction on the part of this family only corroborates this belief. They praised me and they praised Regency. They live nearby in the community and my help yesterday will have a ripple effect in how they promote our already stellar reputation.
You see, I’m grateful to be part of an admissions team that isn’t about generating sales at all costs. We are about consumer empowerment and treating our families as we would wish to be treated.
This isn’t about ‘winning and losing’, but about ‘winning all the time’ according to the principles of honesty, integrity and compassion which guide all of us at the Regency Nursing Centers.
Yesterday, I was a winner.