Mastering Your Intake Process

Intake and admissions coordinators should efficiently process referrals and track all pertinent information. This helps to not only increase census but to help tailor the sales process towards profitable sources.

The intake and admissions process is handled differently by the organizations we work with, however, the overarching procedure is relatively the same. The important piece of this process is speed. Speed to answer a referral and speed to assess and find a place for a patient. DOWNLOAD our intake and admissions checklist and read below for ways to increase admissions with a streamlined process

Step 1:  Receive Referral

A referral can come from a hospital system, physician or physician group, or friends and family. Referrals can come in the form of a call, fax, web form, or electronic hospital referral. Each organization should know all of the different ways a referral could come to your organization and then create a process for handling each.

Take a look at your intake process and pinpoint any inefficiencies. Review your average length of time from referral to pre-admit and pre-admit to admission. If your intake coordinators are not processing referrals quickly, take a look at your process and identify room for improvements. Any delay in processing referrals results in lost revenue which ultimately affects your bottom line.

  • Make sure you have the correct resources to promptly process and respond to referrals
  • Ensure you don’t have any policies that preclude you from specific referrals or levels of care
  • Make sure your staff is well trained and not just taking orders
  • Don’t be quick to say no as you could get a reputation which would hinder the relationships with referral sources in the long run

Intake and admissions should be streamlined as many referrals are going to many different providers and speed to answer and process a referral typically results in more admissions. Your process should be designed to help hospitals, physician groups and physicians place patients quickly.

Your intake process should provide:

  • A quick response to patients and referral sources
  • An outlet to provide information to patients and referral sources

Leverage technology to streamline this process. Not only does technology tell you where there may be gaps or bottlenecks in your process, but it allows you to process referrals and admissions faster – reducing time and cost associated with this process. For example, utilizing a CRM for intake that is connected to the hospital referral systems allows your team to instantly receive the referral and process next steps without data entry.

Technology also allows you to centralize the intake process. Centralizing these resources and processes allows you to avoid lost revenue by increasing efficiency and keeping referrals in your network.

If you offer multiple levels of care, focus on your transitional care and how you move patients through your organization effectively.

Step 2: Respond to Referral

The first response to the case manager is based on surface level information. The organization will either issue a “YES” response, meaning that they have no reason to deny the referral or a “NO” response meaning that they have to deny the referral based on a variety of different information like equipment needs, behavior concerns, bed availability and insurance. To assess this process look at denial reasons and understand why you are denying patients. Be aware of looking for the “perfect” patient and denying too many patients. Referral sources will catch on to this and it may jeopardize your future referrals. Is your team asking the right questions?

Step 3: Facilitate Decision

If the patient is accepted to a pre-admit or pending state, there may be additional information requested from the patient, physician or emergency contact. At this time, the patient and family may be working with numerous organizations to find the best fit. They will rely on recommendations from their physician, online reviews and other information they can get their hands on to choose the best place. Ultimately, a patient could still be denied by the provider if something new is uncovered but could also reject your organization if the patient or family chooses to go to a competitor, stay in the hospital for rehab, etc. Track the reasons for rejection in your CRM to identify how often your organization is not selected and where they ultimately choose to go.

Step 4: Admissions

The admit process should be streamlined and paperwork should be processed in a timely manner. The quicker you can admit a patient, the quicker you start collecting revenue for that patient.

Click below for the Intake and Admissions Checklist to begin streamlining your process!

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