The world of the group home is constantly evolving. This even applies to how they contract for placement of residents. More and more rules are tightening and newly developed HMO style mental health authorities are cropping up that directly oversee the group home operation. Gone are the days of Managed Care Provider Networks, (MCPNs) and in some cases, the cronyism that characterized many of them.
Today it is about:
- Credible, Sustainable Internal Governance
- Quality Communication
- Genuine Person-Centeredness, and, overall….
- A home’s ability to be a reliable, responsible and credible player in the delivery of residential mental health services
New protocol and stronger enforced best practices will weed out providers who refuse to invest in self, who are repeatedly counseled about the same operational dilemmas and who put growth over procedure. And the public would agree its time for such a conversion in overall approach.
At the same time, these authorities must give attention to budgets that allow compensation to direct care staff to be reasonably competitive. This is directly tied to reimbursement rates for residential care. The same applies in the Semi-Independent Living scenario where a person still requires a degree of assistance to manage all that life involves.
A few tips might help current operators – especially those who are growth focused – to stand out among the crowd:
- Once you reach five, (5) homes invest into hiring a District or Field Manager. This does not mean owner “non-involvement.” It does mean you have, preferably, a college educated person who is systems focused, technologically literate and who can make the appropriate combined usage of shoe leather and technology to create operational smoothness. This smoothness will be contributed to because this professional ensures an appropriate chain of custody for all documents, standardized forms and communication technologies and makes the best of staff regardless of their experience or education. They will also be trained in how to ethically protect the employer from liability.
- Have a website and your email associated with that website. In 2018, professionals are looking at business owners who do not have a: firstname.lastname@example.org type email as either behind the times or not fully grasping the nuances of professional communication.
- Ensure everyone’s role is clearly defined to minimize overlap with absolute specificity.
- Use technology, perhaps a video conferencing mechanism to conduct those monthly or quarterly in-service sessions, policy reminders, etc. This keeps everyone in touch and adds cohesion to the team.
- Invest into unity builders, These include polo shirts for team members (yes you will have turnover but a $10.00 shirt should not break the bank)
- Invest into ID Badges, gives your company that professional flare
- Have a program for regular external property maintenance. If your facility looks worse than the homes occupied by your staff, why should they respect your stated desire to be the best in the marketplace?
Think of it this way: If your company was on the market for sale today, would potential investors, buyers and/or venture capitalists financiers be impressed by current processes, operational strategies and those hired to execute those strategies? Smart business people want their operations managed daily as though they are being looked at for sale.
With the right ingredients, providers needed by the community to serve those with mental illness and developmental limitations can be serious players in the long-term care spectrum. Those that are not will be weeded out as standards tighten and more centralized authorities crop up.
We would love to hear your thoughts.