Every day we are bombarded with negativity. If you watch the media, it is all doom and gloom. Take heart, my dear friends….we are in the RIGHT business if we are committed to the cause of hospice and are incorporating the operational structures, methods and cultural tools that help us balance purpose and financial realities. I am finding my sense of purpose and commitment to our endeavor to be ever increasing. If it were not so, I would not be putting personal resources behind my words in the construction of media production and other MVI initiatives. We are essentially a for-profit company that behaves like an NFP. I like the “feeling” of doing worthwhile and extraordinarily meaningful work. As we review our respective lives, what is really important? Our family, certainly. Our work, certainly. In fact with hospice work, we have a secret weapon that attracts uncommonly genuine and kind people…people that make their respective corners of the world a better place.
An unprecedented number of entities are getting into the hospice business. I get calls of this nature every other day (probably like you). Here is why hospice is such a “hot” commodity at present:
- The baby-boomer demographic is not going away and it HAS to be dealt with…
- Even with payment reform and cuts, great financial models can be created in hospice. The results of pre- and post-Model implementations are jaw-dropping. A few recent examples of economic changes in Operational Net Income include -22% to 3%; -15% to 9%; 10% to 24% within a year or less…
- There are not many better options for investors than hospice in the healthcare sector. (Gold and hospice are relatively stable and safe options!) Who’d ever think!
I get a bit weary of the number of folks wanting to get in. I also know that the sheer number of hospices will be thinned via financial means or “constipation” from the powers that be. Many of the investor-oriented hospices will hurt the reputation of the hospice movement as their primary motivation is $$$$. Again, money is essential, a great teaching tool and we need 6-9 months of reserves, but it is secondary and should not be the primary motivation.
Also, through my personal processes and experiences of visiting hundreds of organizations, I see HUNDREDS of opportunities for hospices to work within the constraints of the resources and rules that we’ve been mandated and work miracles. There is more than enough money to create world class experiences for everyone. The key is the intention with which we do our work. We can do MUCH more much easier than we often think. The thrust of my opinion is doing LESS well AND reducing or eliminating things and people that do not add tremendously to the value proposition. A hospice leader needs to take a SERIOUS look at its extracurricular programs and make often difficult choices. Are the add-on programs adding or taking away focus, energy and value? It can be a difficult decision, EXCEPT that the money aspect always clears the air as NO organization is sustainable UNLESS it makes money. If you have a loser add-on program, adjustments have to be made. Never let your losers run. Cut your losses as quickly as possible and don’t become a “hospice rehab center” for dysfunctional people. Give people a matter of months to demonstrate the desired outcomes. And if sufficient progress is not made, in the words of former hospice CEO JoAnn Davis, give them “liberation counseling.”
Getting Back to Basics During the Right Time
To me, first priority is to get the basic widgets of hospice aligned – the visit and the phone interactions. It should never be assumed that these key areas are being done well or we risk our reputation “living on random acts of kindness.” These “interactions” have to be meticulously crafted so that a high-quality predictable experience is the norm. This brings us to People Development. As stated in the People Development and the Model CD, people development is the center of your hospice universe. It is ONLY through people that the mission is accomplished. We need TOP people teaching specific things and teaching well. I have been re-educating myself interviewing and investigating master teachers and I’m learning much. Master teachers teach less, and they teach it very well. They include drama and a degree of tension. They test. Also, master teachers set high expectations at the beginning of the class, which, in itself, introduces a degree of pressure to perform. We have found that the testing that occurs in many of the MVI Tough Training programs dramatically increases CONFIDENCE as participants are required to demonstrate their understanding of the material, at least on a conceptual level. Hospices that have replicated this practice are seeing similar results. Why? It sends a clear message that we are serious and that our hospice is not willing to risk damaging the reputation of the organization with an ill-equipped person.
We are in the right business at the right time. We have meaningful work. We have enough resources. We have everything we need to create experiences uncommonly excellent when compared to the too-often disappointing consumer interactions of the modern era. This makes it EASIER than we think to stand out from the pack. However, it comes down to our People Development and structures at the end of the day…changing them as needed to create ever-increasing positive predictable results.
– by Andrew Reed