New California Senate Bill Changes Discharge Process for Homeless Patients

California SB 1152 was designed to help address the problems associated with discharging homeless patients such as discharging a patient with no place to go, no access to follow-up care and no prescription medication.

The new law institutes a more formalized discharge process for homeless patients involving increased documentation. There are many stipulations in the law about discharging homeless patients:

  1. The treating physician must assess a patient’s clinical stability for discharge including but not limited to whether the patient is alert and oriented to person, place and time. The physician or designee also has to have communicated post discharge medical needs to the patient.
  2. The homeless patient must be offered a meal unless medically indicated otherwise.
  3. If the patient’s clothing is inadequate, the hospital shall offer weather-appropriate clothing.
  4. The patient has been referred to source of follow-up care if medically necessary.
  5. The patient has been provided with a prescription to be filled at an onsite pharmacy and an appropriate supply of all necessary medication, if available.
  6. The patient has been offered or referred to infectious disease screening.
  7. The patient has been offered vaccinations appropriate to presenting medical condition.
  8. The treating physician has provided a medical screening and evaluation and made appropriate arrangements for follow-up behavioral healthcare and will make a good faith effort to contact the patient’s health plan, primary care provider or another appropriate provider.
  9. The patient has been screened for and offered help to enroll in any affordable health insurance for which he or she is eligible.
  10. The hospital staff must offer the patient transport post-discharge to an appropriate facility within 30 minutes or 30 miles.

This new law affects general acute care hospitals, acute psychiatric hospitals and special hospitals licensed by the California Department of Public Health. This may also indirectly affect behavioral health or other healthcare facilities that accept homeless patients discharged from a hospital.

The law goes into effect in two phases. Effective January 1, 2019, hospitals had to modify their current discharge policies by including a written homeless discharge planning policy and procedure.

This discharge plan needs to help patients identify a post-discharge destination. Hospitals also are required to document and perform a checklist including offering a meal, screening for infectious disease and offering weather-appropriate clothing and transportation.

Effective July 1, 2019, hospitals must have a written plan for coordinating services and referrals for homeless patients with the county behavioral health agency and health and social service agencies. Each hospital is required to maintain a log of the homeless patients discharged and their post-discharge destinations.

Taylor Healthcare can help! We have the expertise, cost-effective solutions, supply chain, kitting and central distribution to quickly and efficiently fulfill these new regulations and extend your mission of compassionate care.

Please contact us at www.taylorcommunications.com/healthcare

Boosting the Value of Your Healthcare Brand

Simply having a brand is no longer enough. Healthcare businesses need a strong, trustworthy brand that makes an emotional connection with consumers and professionals alike. You must deliver a unique experience that others cannot replicate. Only then does a brand deliver on its true purpose: to create economic value by generating higher returns and growth, and by mitigating risk.

The Importance of Brand Marketing in Healthcare [ INFOGRAPHIC ]

What is a brand?

Let’s start by defining brand. According to BusinessDictionary.com, a brand is a “unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competition. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind.”

It’s just as important to define what a brand is not. Branding is not marketing, advertising or public relations, says brand interactive agency Parkerwhite in its Branding in Healthcare white paper. Those activities are ways of communicating a brand to the marketplace. Parkerwhite offers this definition of brand: “A recognizable identity that has a personality, values and traits. It is an active business asset that provides differentiation, shareholder value and longevity.”

 

Why is branding so important in healthcare?

If you’ve been in the healthcare space for any length of time, you’ve no doubt witnessed dramatic changes, with one of the most significant being healthcare becoming more of a commodity. What factors are responsible for these changes? Here are three top reasons:

  1. Dynamic Environment: Today, healthcare organizations face more competition than ever before — and not just from local providers who offer similar services. Disruptive technology, alternative options and facilities outside of the U.S. may all pose a threat to traditional healthcare organizations. The increase in mergers, acquisitions and partnerships is another reason to ensure your brand is strong, consistent and distinct, allowing you to bring value to the table.
  2. Consumer-driven Marketplace: Individuals are now responsible for a greater share of their personal healthcare costs, making them more selective about which providers and hospitals they choose. With online research and comparisons — in terms of cost, experience and satisfaction — consumers are more knowledgeable and have higher expectations than ever before.
  3. Recruitment and Retention Challenges: Your brand attracts not only prospective patients, but also doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants and other clinical staff members. It must convey trust, security and stability to prospective, as well as tenured, employees.

 

What steps can you take today?

First and foremost, understand what makes you different, what separates you from the competition. One recommendation is to aim for distinctiveness, not merely differentiation. When someone mentions your brand name, what follows in the conversation? If it’s not what you believe your brand does or should stand for, you may need to rethink your marketing efforts.

Next, execute consistent branding across all channels and to all segments of your audience (consumer and professional). This includes a clear visual identity that is reinforced consistently in patient education materials, marketing collateral, apparel and signage. Train your employees to be brand ambassadors so they deliver on your brand’s promise, which in turn leads to consistency in the patient experience. Over time, those experiences will build your brand’s reputation and help to establish it as trustworthy, credible and valuable.

The Importance of Brand Marketing in Healthcare [ INFOGRAPHIC ]

Top 5 Challenges Facing Healthcare Organizations in 2019

The New Year brings both obstacles and opportunities to healthcare organizations. Rising costs are having a significant impact on every aspect of business operations, while diverse healthcare offerings grow more complex. Overarching goals remain consistent: reduce risk, increase efficiency, maintain compliance, improve patient outcomes, and recruit and retain employees. Let’s take a close look at the top challenge in each of those areas.

 

  1. RISK: Regulation changes – Most companies face some type of regulation change each year. In 2019, healthcare companies will deal with the continued effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the associated Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which will officially repeal the ACA tax penalty. This is likely to have a dramatic impact on the industry as a whole.

 

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, healthcare organizations may have to restructure their businesses to accommodate new rules and liabilities. These changes may have an impact on the cost of medical goods or disrupt the supply chain. Healthy individuals and small businesses seeking lower premiums may benefit from the regulation change, but middle-class consumers looking for comprehensive care may not fare as well — potentially making them less likely to seek medical services.

 

  1. EFFICIENCY: Technology and digital advances ­– In 2017, this prediction was made based on a study from networking provider Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company: “In just two years, by 2019, the majority of healthcare organizations (87 percent) will have adopted Internet of Things (IoT) technology and 76 percent believe it will transform the healthcare industry.” Now we see the combining of IoT development with telemedicine and telehealth technologies, creating a new Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).

 

This IoMT trend has seen patient experience improvements, increased profitability and greater efficiency, through advances like:

 

  • Mobile devices and apps to help prevent, track and manage chronic illnesses
  • Wearable ECG and EKG monitors
  • Medical measurements for skin temperature, glucose levels and blood pressure
  • Smart pills to deliver medications

 

Digital therapeutics is an emerging health discipline that uses technology to supplement or possibly replace medications in the treatment of disease. Connected health services, which is care supported by devices that transmit data or connect to the internet, give additional visibility into patient treatment and new ways to improve outcomes.

 

As healthcare organizations embrace our digital future, the life sciences industry will continue to be reshaped by developments such as patient portals, online tools, smartphone apps, digital payment, connected care and digital therapies. Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) solutions are leading to significant advances in healthcare technologies. From educating new students to planning procedures, the field of VR and AR in healthcare offers serious promise.

 

  1. COMPLIANCE: Data management and security – Healthcare is at a crossroads when it comes to data and analytics. Healthcare organizations recognize they must gather, analyze and apply data in meaningful ways to deliver high-quality patient care while adhering to privacy, safety, billing and reporting requirements. They must leverage data to manage health and drive decisions, and also protect consumer information privacy and security in a world with sophisticated cyberattacks and increased data breaches.

 

Cybersecurity: In 2017, the U.S. medical and healthcare sector experienced over 350 data breaches, exposing 4.93 million patient records. Improving cybersecurity requires dedicated resources to ensure systems are properly protected against cybercriminals.

 

On a positive note, blockchain technologies are allowing fast, secure and transparent peer-to-peer transfer of digital information. And the use of Big Data “will increase dramatically in 2019” while artificial intelligence (AI) will become a “transformational force in healthcare,” according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. Those core functions include:

  • Electronic health records (EHR) to identify trends and ultimately lower treatment costs and improve quality of life
  • Healthcare intelligence to revolutionize the tracking of patient statistics and vital signs
  • Hospitals and healthcare systems to predict healthcare outcomes and design treatment protocols
  • Drug discovery and design to determine potential drug candidates
  • Clinical trials for real-time monitoring

 

  1. OUTCOMES: Patient experience – Patient experience has become a top focus for all healthcare organizations. Delivering a patient experience that meets — and exceeds — expectations is similar to a good customer experience in retail. Increasingly, healthcare decision-makers are looking for ways to improve digital health and optimize patient care from two perspectives: total consumer health (which involves improving consumers’ medical, social, financial and environmental well-being) and population health services (which focuses on community-based health strategies, chronic care management, clinical integration and health barrier reduction).

 

What’s driving this trend? Consider that, as more patients must pay a larger portion of their healthcare bills, they demand better services from their providers. Healthcare organizations will face tougher competition in attracting and retaining patients who expect the same level of customer service they receive from other consumer brands. They want self-service options that are convenient and a digital experience like Amazon. Salesforce.com offers four ways healthcare marketers can get up to speed:

  • Use data as the starting point to understand the patient
  • Get personal with meaningful marketing
  • Wake up to the power of mobile
  • Analyze your campaigns and pivot fast

 

  1. EMPLOYMENT: Recruitment and retention — It’s no surprise the Health eCareers’ 2018 Healthcare Recruiting Trends Report found healthcare employers are dealing with critical shortages of physicians, physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) in primary care and specialties such as psychiatry, orthopedics, cardiology and neurology. Higher salary offers and benefits such as sign-on bonuses and continuing medical education allowances are common recruiting tactics.

 

Retention is equally important. The Health eCareers survey also found three key drivers of turnover are management, senior leadership and job fit. Healthcare organizations must address employee burnout in order to combat this negative trend. Programs that support employee engagement and recognition may also help.