I recently attended a meeting of new Medicaid providers in a southern part of the United States. I listened to representatives of the Department of Health remind providers – primarily in home care – who were looking to operate in a heavily saturated metropolitan market that their marketing needed to be aggressive and consistent. The reason this is so important from a regulator’s perspective was largely due to this reality: If the new provider did not bill Medicaid by a certain date – which requires that you have a client – their Medicaid numbers could be deactivated.
That is surely enough incentive to ensure someone hits the ground running. The major concern in this scenario is that so many providers are often operating – primarily in home care – in larger metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Detroit and Los Angeles. In some cases there are hundreds of providers.
This reminded me that times surely have changed. I started providing home care in 1996, and while today I am no longer a direct provider I have mentored hundreds of new and seasoned care providers. By 1999 I was serving 177 cases and in the year 2000 I began to focus on serving only 24-hour cases. Oh the memories of my travels with clients, including Ms. Newhouse whom we took to Myrtle Beach for seven, (7) days. (That’s her pictured at right in red with my late mom and a staff member and then her and me in the lower pic on Myrtle Beach in 2002) She died about a year later and did so talking about how much she enjoyed that trip.
I remember in home care, as I was in adult day care, being unreservedly dedicated to database marketing; I knew the age and income demographics of nearly every household from miles around and it served me well. This knowledge guided my marketing communications.
I surely understand the anxiety associated with operating in a crowded marketplace. But I was not anxious that way even in Metropolitan Detroit. As a student of the market, including competitors, I knew how to stand out in a crowd. My income was diverse and the fun was unreal.
Today one of my greater joys in business is helping new and seasoned providers to utilize strategies I did to help themselves stand out. It is so important not to be paralyzed with fear or anxiety but to keep putting in place multiple approaches that have been tested and known to work.
In the absence of such an approach or shall I say multiple approaches, the expiration of that new Medicaid provider identification number will not be the only fear to manage. The new fear will be losing faith in self. That is much more dangerous.
The approach my team and I take now is making available technical manuals that detail what I did to promote growth in a crowded marketplace. With these comes two, (2) webinars each month for three, (3) months that provide a broader discussion on these strategies and techniques.
The goal is to move a care provider – whether home care or adult day or group living – to the point where you develop an “auto pilot” sort of routine that you simply feed and allow to nurture and grow. In the process you can develop and maintain that balance required to manage a responsible and responsive operation which is being consistently marketed with effective visual messaging.
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There is nothing like sharing what we know, especially when it helps others calm your fears and plot success.
Thanks for letting us share.
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